APRS media release
NEW DATA SHOWS SUCCESS OF DEPOSIT RETURN ACROSS EUROPE
For immediate release, 20th February 2022
New data from Slovakia and Latvia, the two most recent countries to launch deposit return systems, shows that modern deposit systems like Scotland’s, due to launch in August this year, are successful and expanding.
Slovakia, which has a population size similar to that of Scotland, introduced deposits in January 2022, targeting a 60% return rate for cans and bottles. One year on, this rate has been exceeded, with 70% of cans and bottles being collected. This has resulted in 820 million containers being returned in the first year of the scheme .
Similarly, Latvia launched their scheme at the beginning of February 2022. Newly published data shows that 93% of the country’s 1.9 million residents use deposit return systems on a regular basis, and more than 250 million cans and bottles have been returned in the first year of the scheme. Their return rate is even higher than Slovakia’s, at between 83% and 85%. This success has encouraged the system administrators, Depozīta Iepakojuma Operators, to expand the scope of the scheme. The Latvian system will now include syrup and alcoholic cocktail containers: up to now it included glass and PET plastic bottles plus aluminium cans, just like the Scottish system.
Across the world, an increasing number of countries are introducing deposit return schemes for drinks containers, just as Scotland plans to do this August. This is in an effort to reduce litter, cut carbon emissions, and move towards a more sustainable, circular economy. By the end of 2026, it is estimated that more than 70 jurisdictions worldwide, covering about 746 million people, will have a deposit return scheme for single use or refillable drinks containers . Scotland’s proposed scheme is modelled on such international examples.
Dr. Kat Jones, director of the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland who have been campaigning for deposit return since 2014, said:
“Both Latvia and Slovakia launched their schemes during the Covid pandemic, and this new data shows how well deposits work in these two countries, just as they do in almost 50 jurisdictions worldwide. Anyone who’s been somewhere that uses deposits can immediately see the benefits it brings in terms of litter reduction. We need fewer excuses from industry and more learning from international examples of how to make a success of it.
“More and more countries are introducing plans for deposit return every year. Having this scheme is becoming the norm across Europe, rather than the exception. The pressure really should now be on England to bring their system in line with Scotland and Wales by including glass, and bringing in deposits as soon as possible. This is the first and easiest step towards a circular economy, not one designed around landfill, litter and incineration.”
Miks Stūrītis, CEO of the Latvian scheme administrator, said:
“In a first year of deposit system operation we collected more than 250 million deposit containers – metal cans, PET bottles and glass bottles – both recyclable and refillable.
“Already in the first year collection rates attained were higher than those reached before the deposit system came in.
“It was a completely new habit to introduce for Latvian society and according to the survey made in October of 2022, 93% Latvian households are using the deposit system. Our current return rate is about 83 – 85% and we aim to reach 88% by the end of this year.”
Samantha Harding, Executive Director of Reloop, said:
“With Reloop’s international focus on deposit systems, across many countries we see the same concerns raised time and again, alongside similar tactics to try and delay or derail incoming schemes. Then we see that once each system is up and running, the promised environmental benefits are always met or exceeded, and those involved in the scheme, such as large and small beverage producers and retailers, can be part of the system without a negative impact on their business. Scotland will be the same and the launch of its deposit system in August this year can’t come soon enough.”
 Based on a report from TOMRA https://www.tomra.com/en/discover/reverse-vending/feature-articles/slovakia-deposit-return-scheme
 Reloop’s Global Deposit Book 2022. https://www.reloopplatform.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/RELOOP_Global_Deposit_Book_11I2022_P1.pdf
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. https://aprs.scot/
Sarah Doherty, Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland
Campaign Manager for the Have You Got The Bottle? campaign