Have You Got the Bottle

The Campaign
Have You Got The Bottle? is a campaign led by the Association for the Protection of  Rural Scotland. We set the campaign up in 2015 to urge Scottish Ministers to introduce a comprehensive deposit return system for drinks containers – one that includes all plastic, glass and metal drinks containers.

We have built a campaign coalition of more than one hundred organisations including retailers, universities, transport operators, community and sports groups, environmental NGOs, tourism operators, waste managers, and owners of bars, restaurants and tourism businesses. They support the introduction of a deposit return system because they recognise that it will help 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.

What is a deposit return scheme?
From August 2023, 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, ensuring that bottles are made back into bottles and cans are made back into cans. 

Why should Scotland introduce a deposit return scheme?
We began this campaign because, like our members, we were concerned about the amount of 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. Indeed, 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 to deposit return; 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 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 system. 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. The scheme is set to go live on the 16th August 2023.

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. You can view them, and other campaign updates on the Have You Got The Bottle? website, as well as the Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook pages. 


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

Read more about it :
Have You Got The Bottle? website – find out the benefits and how it might work
The Scottish Deposit Return System: What should it cover?
English study finds that Deposit Return Systems could save councils £35 million a year
In depth deposit return system briefingThe Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland recently submitted this extensive briefing on deposit return systems to the Scottish Parliament

Image copyright Ray

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