A Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland

Closed 25 Sep 2018

Opened 27 Jun 2018

Feedback updated 25 Feb 2019

We asked

We sought your views on the best approach to deliver a deposit return scheme for Scotland that would achieve the following principles:

  •  increase the quantity of target materials captured for recycling
  • improve the quality of material captured, to allow for higher value recycling
  • encourage wider behaviour change in the use of materials
  • deliver maximum economic and societal benefit for Scotland.

 The consultation sought feedback on eleven components that will comprise a well- designed and effective system:

  •  What materials will be collected
  • What types of products will have a deposit on them
  • Where you will be able to get the deposit back
  • How the scheme will be paid for
  • How the scheme is communicated so everyone understands it
  • How to prevent fraud in the system
  • How much the deposit should be
  • What infrastructure to put in place, and the logistics involved
  • How to create additional benefits from the scheme
  • Who owns the system
  • How the system is regulated

You said

The consultation received 3,215 responses. This comprised responses from 159 organisations, 2,008 individuals and 1,048 campaign respondents.

 There was widespread agreement amongst both organisational and individual respondents that a well-run and appropriately targeted DRS could provide opportunities in relation to improving the environment, changing people’s attitudes to recycling and littering, and building the circular economy. In relation to the design and operation of the scheme, there was a range of areas in which respondents (both organisations and individuals) expressed a large degree of consensus, and other areas where there was some divergence.

 A key point is that there was support for a scheme that included the widest range of materials possible. However, organisations (and especially food and drink producers, retailers, and recycling and waste management organisations) were much more likely than individuals to favour a scheme which targeted a more limited set of materials – PET plastic, metal cans and, to a lesser extent, glass. Furthermore, there was widespread agreement that the scheme should use either a model based on take-back to a place that sells drinks, or a mixture of take-back and designated drop-off.  Responses indicated support for a deposit in excess of 15p to ensure the system is effective and provides the right incentive to encourage recycling.  A number of cross-cutting themes were identified, including the need for the scheme to be as accessible as possible, including strong communications; that it should be seen as part of wider work on producer responsibility; and that any design developed should be evidence based.

We did

We have commissioned independent analysis of the consultation responses, and have published the final report of the analysis here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/deposit-return-scheme-scotland-analysis-responses/

 We have also published those responses where consent has been given to publish, which can be found here:

 The feedback and evidence from the consultation has been fed into the on-going design work of a deposit return scheme for Scotland. We will announce next steps on this shortly.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Consultation on the options for distinct elements of a deposit return scheme on beverage containers, seeking views on which options will deliver the best results for Scotland.

Why your views matter

We want to design a deposit return system that will work well for everyone in Scotland, providing increased recycling rates and quality of recycling, reductions in littering and business opportunities. We want a wide range of views as possible to help us design an effective system.

The responses to the consultation will help us to design an effective system. This will then go forward as regulations under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.

Download the consultation paper.

Download the easy read paper.

Download examples of Deposit Return Schemes


  • Economy
  • Environment and Climate Change