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Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland.

We love GOOD NEWS. And that’s what the Scottish Government has delivered today. They’ve announced a Deposit Return Scheme(DRS) for Scotland.

Why not a DRS here? Why not now?

The news may get better as we expect it to happen in Ireland in 6 months time (optimistically). Find out why we think so below.

What is planned for Scotland?

Scotland’s new Deposit Return Scheme will include aluminium and steel cans as well as drinks containers made of glass and Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic with a 20p deposit as part of plans to combat climate change. The ambitious scheme is based on successful international equivalents and will be widely accessible, with all shops which sell drinks offering deposit refunds to customers.


Our colleagues in ZWS have been long promoting and championing this scheme and they deserve great credit for their perseverance. Scotland is the first part of the UK to commit to a deposit-return scheme 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.

Scots set to get back 20p per bottle/can.

There’s widespread consensus that a well-run, appropriately-targeted scheme could improve the environment, change attitudes to recycling and litter, and support a more circular economy. 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. 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.

Coming soon to a shopping centre near you or maybe not?

What next for us?

At ZWAI we demand faster action by our own laggard Government on a DRS for Ireland. Let’s get this DRS Campaign implemented in Ireland. There is currently a feasibility study being undertaken by Eunomia here but why not just save time, fast forward and copy the Scottish system (After all the same consultancy that worked on the Scottish system back in 2015 is involved here *, we have similar populations and demographics and almost the same macro environmental conditions apply.

Let’s save time and money on this current feasibility exercise that was tendered by the DCCAE and won by Eunomia and just adopt the Scottish model.

It’s all part of implementing a Reduce & Re-Use policy after all.

We reduce our costs for a new report that WILL GIVE US ESSENTIALLY THE SAME OUTCOME as the feasibility report for Scotland and re-use the wisdom that was in the 2015 Scottish report. (it’s available to view here)

Och aye laddies and lassies, let’s keep pace with our Celtic cousins and head for the highlands of Zero Waste together.

*Note: The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has committed to a collection rate of 90% for beverage containers (plastic and aluminium) and has commissioned a study into how this could be achieved. For more information please see press release here:

This national study is now underway and Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd are the consultants for this.