International support for deposit return


APRS media release

Under embargo for 00.01, 27th March 2023

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. 

Further new systems will launch in Turkey, Romania, and Greece in 2023; Ireland and Hungary in 2024; and Austria in 2025, the date announced in January 2023 for the rest of the United Kingdom.

Miquel Roset, Executive Director of Retorna [1], said:

“In Spain and Portugal, we now have deposit return legislation in place. However, in Portugal it has been delayed since 2020, and there is still no firm date for go-live. In Spain, the implementation depends on certain conditions, with more clarity still needed on how these will be measured. We have looked at Scotland’s world-leading example since details were announced in 2017, and are acutely aware of how your progress in this policy area can influence developments here.

“As we wait to see who will serve as Scotland’s next First Minister, we offer our support and solidarity to your commitment to bring about positive change for Scotland’s people and environment.”

Chloe Schwizgebel, Policy and Campaign Coordinator at Recycling Netwerk [2], said:

“In the Netherlands we spent decades campaigning for a system that was more like the one you’ve committed to in Scotland. Our system originally only included larger plastic bottles, which meant an ineffective system that came under industry pressure to be cancelled. 

“Instead, we worked the system to take back smaller plastic bottles too, which began in July 2021, and the effect on litter levels was immediately obvious. We then kept up pressure for cans to be included, and that will begin on Saturday. 

“We are pleased to see the Scottish Government’s bold ambition to introduce a comprehensive system from the start, and we encourage the incoming First Minister to hold their nerve in this final push to implementation.”

Miloš Veverka, President of CEPTA [3], said:

“The Slovakian experience highlights how positive the results will be for Scotland once your deposit return system has begun. Our system, which launched in January 2022, has seen excellent results. The return rate is already 10% over the 60% first year target. The public have embraced deposit return, and have recycled around 820m cans and bottles since our system launched.”

Dr Kat Jones, Director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland [4], said:

“When the First Minister announced in 2017 that Scotland would have deposit return, many other campaigners across Europe were pushing their own governments hard to follow suit. The litter crisis we see every day in Scotland is not a uniquely Scottish problem – the same story plays out on the streets and in the countryside of every country without deposit return.

“So, while we were inspired by their campaigns, the leadership shown by the Scottish Government has already helped build the case for other systems to be launched or updated, including in the Netherlands, Spain and Slovakia. The message from across Europe is the same: time to get it done.”


1. Retorna is a Spanish environmental non-profit and non-governmental institution established in 2010 in Barcelona, with a national and international area of work. Retorna focuses on advocacy and awareness-raising on Zero Waste and the huge problem of beverage containers being abandoned in our natural and urban environments.

2. Recycling Netwerk is an independent environmental organisation, connecting several environmental organisations on the subject of primary materials and their impact. Our goal is to limit as much as possible the environmental damage caused, from production to waste management. Therefore, our network wants: always more and always better recycling. Recycling Netwerk has been active for years in the Netherlands, and is now expanding its activities to Belgium.


3. CEPTA, based in Slovakia brings together people with a need to take action to protect the environment, nature, promote civic participation, a healthy lifestyle and sustainable alternatives to the current consumer lifestyle.

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

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