The costs of a deposit return system


A deposit return system for drinks in Scotland would hit the poorest the hardest. 

Unlike carrier bag charges, you won’t be able to avoid this additional cost.

Soft drinks, alcohol and possibly milk would increase with a 20p deposit and could increase even more to cover costs to set up the system and protect it from fraud. 

Research and evidence shows:

    • It would cost Scottish consumers £155 million extra a year - £65.30 per household
    • Weekly shopping costs would increase: a daily bottle of milk would cost an extra £1.40 per week and 30 can multipack almost double from around £7 to £13
    • £87 million would be lost in unredeemed deposits - £36.50 per household
    • Councils could lose £8.7million from removing drinks containers from kerbside recycling
    • Shops would lose sales space to fit reverse vending machines or store empties, reducing product lines in some shops
    • Around 2,700 reverse vending machines would be needed costing retailers £32,000 each, excluding maintenance
    • If machines are full or breakdown consumers would lose their money
    • Preventing fraud could increase drinks price and reduce product choice – California spends £19m a year on fraud claims