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Deposit Return Evidence Summary

A deposit return system is one where consumers pay a small amount of money in addition to the purchase price at point of sale; this money is then returned to them if they choose to return the item after use.

Following on from previous work on the potential for a deposit return system in Scotland, Scottish Government asked Zero Waste Scotland to investigate a number of key questions to help move discussion forward. 

This report summarises the evidence, analysis, and stakeholder feedback collected as part of this process.

The report specifically considers:

  • Current recycling rates for items that might be targeted by a deposit system
  • The costs and benefits from a deposit system for local authority collection services
  • The potential anti-litter impacts of a deposit return system
  • How consumer behaviour might be expected to change in the presence of a deposit system, and the value of consumers' contribution to a deposit return system
  • The costs and benefits for manufacturers and retailers from a deposit system
  • The potential impact of a deposit system on material quality and recyclate prices
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