Deposit Return Campaign

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

This page serves as an archive of the ‘Have you Got the Bottle’ campaign and resources published between 2015 – 2023.

The Campaign

The logo for the APRS Deposit Return Scheme campaign 'Have You Got The Bottle' - featuring a stack of money in the shape of a bottle.

APRS campaigned for a deposit return scheme in Scotland since 2015. The ‘Have You Got The Bottle?’ Campaign brought together 100 organisations to campaign together. In 2017 the First Minister committed to introducing a scheme.

On June 7th 2023 – The Scottish Government announced the scheme will be delayed until October 2025, at the earliest. This is a legacy page from the campaign. For more information on our current campaign see the page on our Circular Economy Work.

What happened to deposit return?

This long read delves into how corporate interests brought down deposit return.

No Return on glass bottle

This page serves as an archive of the campaign and resources published between 2015 – 2023.

About ‘Have you got the Bottle?’

The campaign came together in 2015. More than one hundred organisations created the ‘Have you got the Bottle?’ campaign, including retailers, universities, transport operators, community and sports groups, environmental NGOs, tourism operators, waste managers, and owners of bars, restaurants and tourism businesses.

Find the Facts

Cut through the misinformation about deposit return and find out the facts here.

full text

What is a deposit return scheme?

When you buy a single use PET plastic or glass bottle or an aluminium can you will pay a deposit of 20p. When you return the container to a shop or other return point, you will get your money back. Deposit return is designed to make it easy for consumers to recycle their drinks containers. This will ensure that bottles are made back into bottles and cans are made back into cans. 

Read our briefing as to why glass is in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme and how this will work for hospitality.

  • Glass and the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme

    APRS has always campaigned for an “all-in” deposit return which includes glass. This briefing gives a run-down of the rationale for including glass in the scheme and some pointers for how this will work specifically for hospitality.

Public support

In September 2019 YouGov survey commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland found that 77% of people in Scotland support the introduction of the country’s bottle deposit return scheme (DRS) and 85% say that glass should be included. In June 2020 the Populus poll commissioned by Nature 2030 showed 75 % of the UK public believe the government should introduce a comprehensive scheme covering all drinks containers – up from 69% the year before.

  • Public Support for a Deposit Return Scheme

    This briefing details the public support for deposit return in Scotland. Over the last 4 years of work in schools, with organisations such as Scouts and Rotary and in partnership with venues and charities we have been engaging with all demographics who are experiencing the impact of litter in their communities, on roads, on beaches, in rivers and in the countryside. They are excited about deposit return coming to Scotland and the opportunities redeeming discarded deposit items, could bring to them personally.

Why we need a deposit return scheme?

We began this campaign because, like our members, we were concerned about the litter in Scotland’s towns and countryside. Having seen the evidence from forty places around the world that already have deposit return systems, we could see the huge benefits this would bring to Scotland. Independent experts at Eunomia estimate that more than 140,000 plastic and glass bottles and drinks cans are littered unnecessarily every day in Scotland.

There are many benefits; it will hugely decrease the litter we see in our towns, countryside, and waterways, cut local council costs through reduced litter cleaning, reduce Scotland’s carbon emissions by roughly 160,000 tonnes of CO2 every year, create green jobs, and move towards a more sustainable, circular economy. A deposit return scheme will challenge how we view waste and tackle our throwaway culture for generations to come. 

When will this be introduced?

We were delighted when, in September 2017, the First Minister committed to introducing an ambitious, world-leading deposit return scheme. Since then, our coalition has continued to celebrate this decision, while calling for a system that includes as many drinks containers as possible, with all plastic drink containers, glass bottles and cans as a minimum.

Together with our coalition members, we’ve created a series of short video interviews that explain our individual perspectives on why deposit return will be such a great move for Scotland.


Note : The Deposit Return Scheme was originally due to launch in April 2021, but was pushed back to July 2022 due to the COVID 19 Pandemic. Since then, further delays were announced seeing the start date being moved to August 2023 and then to March 2024. On June 7th 2023 – The Scottish Government announced the scheme will be delayed until October 2025, at the earliest.

Campaign Moments

Campaigners outside Tesco with two recovered trollies full of littered bottles and cans

Press Release

Today APRS and volunteers from Fife Street Champions demonstrated outside Tesco Duloch, calling on the supermarket chain to support Scotland’s upcoming deposit return scheme. The campaigners brought littered trollies filled with littered cans and bottles.

Press Release

A group of pro-deposit return international NGOs have today written to Lorna Slater MSP, the Minister responsible for deposit return, to set out how the Scottish commitment made in 2017 helped with their campaigns, and support the rollout up to the August 16th 2023 launch date, whether systems in their countries are underway, being expanded, or scheduled to launch.

Archived resources and information

  • Public Support for a Deposit Return Scheme

    This briefing details the public support for deposit return in Scotland. Over the last 4 years of work in schools, with organisations such as Scouts and Rotary and in partnership with venues and charities we have been engaging with all demographics who are experiencing the impact of litter in their communities, on roads, on beaches, in rivers and in the countryside. They are excited about deposit return coming to Scotland and the opportunities redeeming discarded deposit items, could bring to them personally.

  • Deposit Return: the facts

    Published March 7th 2023 Deposit return has become a topic of considerable discussion over the last few months. Here are

  • Deposit Return and Hospitality

    Hospitality businesses where drinks are either consumed on the premises or taken away for off-site consumption will see an immediate financial benefit from deposit return. In addition, decreases in litter will make Scotland more appealing to tourists. This will provide a much needed boost for an industry that has been hard hit in recent years, while improving the environment for Scottish residents and visitors alike

  • Glass and the Scottish Deposit Return Scheme

    APRS has always campaigned for an “all-in” deposit return which includes glass. This briefing gives a run-down of the rationale for including glass in the scheme and some pointers for how this will work specifically for hospitality.

  • Deposit Return Briefing for MSPs 2023

    This briefing was written for the debate in the Scottish Parliament on 23 February 2022. This briefing is in support of the scheme from APRS, which has been running the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign for deposit return since 2015

  • Briefing for MSPs about possible 2021 deposit return delay

    Scotland’s already overdue deposit return system is at risk of another unnecessary delay, which would be in breach of an SNP manifesto commitment. This briefing from 2021 explains why we must not delay the implementation of deposit return.

  • Why Scotland needs a Deposit Return Scheme

    This briefing was written for the Scottish Parliament in 2017 as part of the Have you Got the Bottle Campaign. A deposit return system is a collection system for used drinks container packaging, in which consumers pay a small deposit on every drinks container. This is refunded when the container is returned. This document explains how a scheme would work to decrease litter, increase recycling and save money, among other benefits.

  • Deposit Return: the benefits for Councils

    A deposit return system for cans and bottles would bring substantial benefits for Scotland’s local authorities, as it has for local governments around the world

  • Scotland’s Got the Bottle

    Scotland has become the first nation in the UK to commit to a deposit return system for bottles and cans. Such systems are already working well in other countries including Canada, Estonia, Germany and Norway. The Scottish Government is now working on the detailed implementation of the system. This document is a briefing about what to expect when the system is introduced.

  • Deposit return around the world: Business Briefing

    Businesses today face an increasingly challenging environment. Finding ways to cut costs, make better use of materials and build a positive reputation are crucial to future success. Businesses today face an increasingly challenging environment. Finding ways to cut costs, make better use of materials and build a positive reputation are crucial to future success.

  • The Scottish Deposit Return System: what materials should it cover?

    Which materials should an ambitious, world-leading system include? The main arguments from parts of the drinks and retail industries seeking to be exempted or to limit their costs are around glass, larger plastic bottles, HDPE (the plastic used for milk bottles, amongst other things), and TetraPak cartons. We support an inclusive system that covers all materials used for drinks containers, including glass, metal and plastic.

  • Deposit Return is coming to Scotland!

    This is our 2016 campaign briefing to explain what deposit return is and the advantages. Have You Got The Bottle? is a campaign led by the Association or the Protection of Rural Scotland. Launched in 2015, the campaign has worked to inform politicians and organisations of the importance of introducing a deposit return system for plastic, glass and metal drinks containers to reduce litter, support a circular economy in Scotland, boost the recycling sector and create jobs, reduce public sector costs and improve the environment for residents and visitors alike.

Our Let’s Not Bottle It Now Campaign Video

In March 2023, APRS launched a campaign asking supporters to write to their MSP encouraging them “not to bottle it” with Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme. This was our campaign video.


Esmée Fairbairn Foundation logo

APRS gratefully acknowledges the funding which the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation has provided towards this campaign.

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