Scottish deposit return scheme to include metal cans, with a 20p deposit refund

aluminium can recycling

The Scottish Government has announced that its new Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will include aluminium and steel cans and drink containers made of glass and PET plastic.  

This scheme is part of the country’s plan to tackle climate change, with consumers who use the scheme receiving a 20p deposit refund. 


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It is hoped that by putting this deposit on bottles and cans, Scotland’s recycling rates will increase, and littering will decline.   

Scotland’s DRS is based on successful international equivalents, and will be widely accessible, with all shops that sell drinks offering deposit refunds to customers.  

The Deposit Return Scheme Implementation Advisory Group is providing industry input and guidance on the scheme’s interaction with consumers, producers, retailers and the hospitality industry, which will be key to its success, said the Scottish Government.  

Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit return scheme as part of our wider efforts to prevent discarded drinks containers from ending up in our streets and seas, and is now the first to outline its design – one that is ambitious in scale and scope, and which gives the people of Scotland a clear and straightforward way to do their bit for the environment. 

“There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations. I am therefore delighted to confirm that I intend to implement a system covering PET – the most common form of plastic packaging – aluminium and steel cans, and glass, with a deposit refund set at 20p.” 

Zero Waste Scotland chief operating officer Jill Farrell said: “This will be a game-changer for recycling and the circular economy in Scotland. By giving people an extra incentive to do something good for our environment, and having a consistent approach across Scotland, we are confident it will be easier for all of us to do the right thing. This will improve the volume and quality of recycling and help tackle litter in the process. 

“With a huge network of places to return your bottles and cans, it will be just as easy to return a drink as it is to buy one in the first place. I’m proud of Zero Waste Scotland’s role in advising the Scottish Government on this design, which has resulted in a blueprint for a world-class scheme.” 

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