Scotland unveils deposit return scheme

Scotland unveils deposit return scheme

The government is introducing a fee for all PET and glass bottles as well as aluminum and steel cans.

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The Scottish Government revealed the results of its consultation on implementing a national bottle return scheme for drinks packaging, confirming that it will introduce a 20p (about 26 cents) deposit fee for all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and glass bottles as well as aluminum and steel cans.

According to the Scottish Government, the country consulted with retailers, packaging producers, drinks brands, hospitality companies and consumers prior to implementing this program. 

The program will operate under a “return-to-retail” model where shoppers bring their empty packaging to the shop they purchased the drinks from, whether they made their purchase online or in store. Retailers can choose whether to let staff collect the containers and issue deposit returns or to invest in reverse vending machines to automate the process, the Scottish Government reports.

According to the Scottish Government, the scheme will cover all beverage products between 50 milliliters and 3 liters. However, bottles made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) will not be accepted in the program.

The country began exploring the feasibility of a nationwide deposit return scheme in 2015 and confirmed its intention to develop a policy in 2017. A draft policy framework is expected to be published this year. A case report on the new program is posted online.