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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-08158

  • Asked by: Jackie Dunbar, MSP for Aberdeen Donside, Scottish National Party
  • Date lodged: 22 April 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Lorna Slater on 9 May 2022


To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of (a) any potential benefits of introducing a digital deposit return scheme, through which consumers could recycle drinks containers via kerbside collections using unique barcodes to reclaim deposits, and (b) the potential for incorporating a digital element into existing proposals for its Deposit Return Scheme.


We would anticipate that industry will make extensive use of digital technology in delivering our Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), for example by developing an IT system to track payments made and received, adopting state-of-the-art reverse vending technology to prevent fraud, and using digital media to communicate with the public regarding DRS.

We are aware of the so-called ‘digital DRS’ as a proposed approach to delivering deposit return whereby consumers redeem deposits on scheme articles by scanning them with a smartphone before placing them in their kerbside recycling. We considered this approach during the policy-development process for DRS and the strong feedback from both industry and environmental NGOs was that the technology is not sufficiently mature for implementation on the timetable for our DRS.

We, and Circularity Scotland Ltd as scheme administrator, are monitoring developments including trials of ‘digital DRS’ in Wales. However, we are focussed on delivering a return-to-retail DRS, in line with international best practice, that will make it as easy to return a bottle or can as it was to buy it.