Hundreds of Scottish producers and businesses have committed to take part in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme when it begins in August 2023. Two billion drinks containers, more than 90% of the annual total volume of eligible products, are now included in the scheme. Climate campaigners say that this must end calls for another delay of the long-planned scheme.

Today (1 March), was the deadline for the official sign up of producers to the scheme. The list includes the biggest producers of single use drinks cans in Scotland, as well as small and medium sized businesses have also signed up.

The commitment of the largest producers to the scheme means that the huge environmental benefits which Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme is expected to bring will be realised when it starts in August.

Under the Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020, only producers which are signed up to the scheme can sell their single use drinks products in Scotland for that year.

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“It’s great news that many producers in Scotland are now signed up to the scheme – it’s clear that businesses have had plenty of time to get ready and are committed to starting in August.

“The biggest producers who are on the list are also the biggest polluters, and it is these companies that bear the greatest responsibility for reducing litter from the products they put on the shelves. This means Scotland’s deposit return scheme will be effective at reducing litter, increasing recycling rates and cutting climate changing emissions as planned.”

Dr Kat Jones, Director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, which has been running the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign, said:

“Deposit return is the most basic circular economy measure, used every day by hundreds of millions of people, and with new countries coming on board every year. It will work in Scotland, just as it does elsewhere.

“Deposit return is too important to become a political football. It’s good to hear that businesses of all sizes are signing up but we need to see all businesses getting on board with getting litter off our streets and out of our greenspaces.”

Calum Duncan, Head of Conservation Scotland at the Marine Conservation Society said:

“Scotland’s seas and beaches have been waiting for a deposit return system since 2009, from when the Scottish Government first had the powers to introduce one. Almost a decade and a half later, we are still waiting whilst bottles and cans pile up.

“For far too long our seas and beaches have borne the brunt of business not taking full responsibility for the waste that their products create. Our volunteers found drinks-related litter on 93% of beaches surveyed in Scotland during our Great British Beach Clean last year. A bottle and can deposit system is a proven step towards a circular economy, helping to address the climate and nature emergencies. We know that these schemes work, having seen their success in countries across the globe. We’re looking forward to Scotland leading the way across the UK in rolling out the scheme for metal, plastic and glass drinks containers.”

Notes to Editors

Friends of the Earth Scotland Briefing Note on Scotland’s deposit return scheme: https://foe.scot/resource/briefing-paper-on-scotlands-deposit-return-scheme/

Friends of the Earth Scotland Briefing on DRS: https://foe.scot/resource/briefing-paper-on-scotlands-deposit-return-scheme/

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.

APRS (The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland) is Scotland’s countryside charity. The charity campaigns to promote, enhance and protect Scotland’s countryside and rural landscapes for everyone’s benefit, and support others to do the same. They have been running the Have You Got the Bottle? campaign since 2014, advocating for a successful and comprehensive deposit return scheme for Scotland.

The Marine Conservation Society is the UK’s leading ocean charity, fighting for cleaner, better-protected, healthier seas. The charity works to highlight the importance of our ocean, and the life within it, through working with government, industry and education, to take action to restore and protect the marine environment. The charity has run a dedicated Scotland programme from its Edinburgh office, established in April 2000. Our focus in Scotland | About us | Marine Conservation Society