Return points and businesses where consumption takes place on site, such as pubs and restaurants, will be provided free collections of all containers identified in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme. 

These collections will be managed and funded by the Scheme Administrator and will represent a saving for businesses currently paying to have recyclable waste collected by resource management contractors.

Collection activities will operate seven days a week - the current model is that Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs) are visited daily while return points operating manual handling are serviced weekly or fortnightly. Collection frequencies will be adjusted to meet demand and ensure efficient operation as the system beds in.

Each bag, box or bin collected will be security tagged with a unique identifier for the return point operator so they can track its progress through the system.

We recognise that additional, one-off collections may be necessary at specific return points.  This might be triggered when a return point with limited storage capacity experiences a surge following a local event such as a music festival or sports match.

You will be able to request additional collections through the return point operator app, on the Circularity Scotland website or by calling the customer call centre. There will be agreed timeframes for such collections.

Reverse vending machines

Reverse vending machines (RVM) are sophisticated pieces of equipment that can identify drinks containers inserted and refund consumers’ deposits once the container has been scanned and validated. RVMs do not pay cash but generate vouchers that can be used at retailers to pay for shopping or get a cash refund at the till. 

RVMs have been successfully used to support many other deposit return schemes around the world. Return points using RVMs store the returned containers in bags, boxes and bins ready for collection by the scheme administrator’s logistic partner. 

Manual collection 

We envisage providing weekly or fortnightly collections for businesses operating manually handled return points. Frequencies will be determined by available storage space at the premises and the level of returns the business experiences. Additional, one-off collections can be arranged via our return point app, online or by phoning our service centre. 

A range of collection frequencies to suit businesses’ needs 

What happens once we’ve collected your containers

Once the returned containers have been collected by our logistics partner, they are taken to processing centres where they will be scanned and checked. Once they have cleared the checks, we can release payments to reimburse you for the deposits you have repaid. The drinks containers are then taken for recycling so the plastic, metal and glass can be used to make another generation of drinks containers.  


For manual return points, fees will be paid weekly based on counted volumes in a given week on the Friday of the following week.

For automatic return points, fees will be paid monthly based on RVM data on collection volumes in a given month.

[Updated 7/3/23]

Yes. If you find you have an unusually high level of returns, you will be able to request additional collections through either the return point operator app, the Circularity Scotland website or by calling the customer call centre. If it becomes clear that your collection volumes are low or unpredictable, you may find an ad-hoc collection is preferable, rather than a regular cycle.  There will be agreed timeframes for such collections.

We recognise that events such as music festivals or sports matches may result in the need for return points with limited storage being overwhelmed. In this case we will arrange for additional collections whenever needed.