The Scottish Government is bringing in a deposit return scheme for some plastic bottles, cans and glass.

In a bid to reduce the amount of plastic waste Scotland produce, the government has today revealed the 20p bottle and can return scheme.

The process will involve adding a deposit of 20p to the price of single-use drinks containers. When customers return the empty containers to a shop or a ‘reverse vending machine’ (RVM), their deposit is refunded.

The deposit return scheme will cover glass and plastic bottles, as well as aluminium and steel drinks cans, sold from any shop in Scotland. This is the first national scheme in the UK.

Containers made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – which typically carry fizzy drinks and water – will be included in the deposit return scheme. However, HDPE-made plastic bottles, which are typically used to carry milk will not!

How do customers get their deposit back?

There will be two ways consumers can return their empty container – over the counter, or by using a reverse vending machine (RVM).

After initially scanning the container, the RVM machine will return the 20p deposit to the customer. The containers are stored in the machine until they’re collected for recycling.

The customer can choose how they would prefer the 20p deposit to be returned. The government says there are several options including cash at a till, a token or discount voucher or digitally.

As well as retailers and hospitality businesses, schools and other community hubs will be able to act as return locations.

This is the first national scheme in the UK. The government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are also looking at introducing a similar scheme and several trials across the UK have taken place.