federation of aluminium consumers in europe

Scotland Launches Deposit Return Scheme For Aluminium Cans And Bottles


The Scottish government announced its new Deposit Return Scheme that includes aluminium drinks containers. The scheme – part of Scotland’s plan to mitigate climate change – involves an extra charge of 20 pence (23 cents) for a refundable deposit across all sizes of containers.


The bottle return scheme is introduced after a wide consultation with the public and, in addition to aluminium containers, also includes some plastic drinking containers. The scheme requires compliance by all retail outlets, regardless of size. Consumers will be able to give their empty container either over the counter or by using a reverse vending machine.


“Supported by international evidence our plans for Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme are gathering pace with widespread consensus demonstrating that a well-run, appropriately-targeted scheme could improve the environment, change attitudes to recycling and litter, and support a more circular economy,” said Roseanna Cunningham – Scotland’s Environment Secretary.


Alupro – an organisation representing the UK’s aluminium packaging industry – expressed its concern at unintended consequences of high deposit fee. Alupro suggests that the proposed 20p deposit would lead to a perceived price hike on multipack cans, underlining that in the UK around four in five drinks cans are sold in multi-pack format.


“[The scheme] would perversely result in more plastic bottles being sold, and a decline in the number of infinitely recyclable aluminium cans sold,” said Alupro. “In order to avoid distorting the market, we believe the deposit should vary according to the size of the container, as it does in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.”



Aluminium recycling has many advantages over producing primary aluminium – from using 95 per cent less energy to decreasing aluminium carbon footprint. Europe’s aluminium recycling rate has been expanding substantially in the last years with several countries recycling nearly 100 per cent of their aluminium cans.


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