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Lidl launches own returns scheme after DRS delay in Scotland

Budget retailer Lidl has launched its own deposit return scheme (DRS) after the Scottish government delayed its roll-out of the policy last year.

Has the Scottish Government done a U-turn on its Deposit Return Scheme 'ultimatum'?

The chain has placed reverse vending machines in 21 sites throughout Glasgow offering 5p for each container, with no limit on the number that can be returned at present.

Returns include empty plastic and aluminium drinks containers and will see a 5p reward for each eligible container, which can be redeemed against shopping in the store, or alternatively donated to charity.

This is different to the deposit return scheme, which adds a sum of money, to the product price at the point of purchase.

According to Lidl, the machine will accept bottles and cans from any retailer, providing the container is clean, uncrushed and within the size limit of 100ml to 3 litres in size with a readable barcode.

There are a number of products which fall outside of the scheme, including HDPE plastics, Tetra Pak containers, paper-based cartons, as well as all glass bottles.

Great progress

Richard Bourns, Chief Commercial Officer at Lidl GB, said about the move: “We’re on a mission to eliminate all unnecessary waste, and with over 95% of our own-brand packaging now recyclable, reusable, or refillable we’ve been making great progress.

“We know that Lidl shoppers share this passion, and we hope that utilising this infrastructure, which might otherwise have been left dormant, will help to make recycling their cans and bottles even more convenient for them. With our extra incentive thrown in, and no cap on the number of items that can be recycled, it’s a win-win for all.”


Scotland’s controversial DRS has seen continuous pushback from the nation’s drinks sector for the “unnecessary damage” it would cause, and was delayed last year, originally to March 2024 in April last year.

But following an intervention from the UK Government, the Scottish Government delayed the rollout of its DRS again until October 2025, MSP Lorna Slater telling Parliament this Westminster had “sabotaged” it for excluding glass from the UK-wide scheme, which is set for 2025.

The Lidl trial is due to run until 11 August.

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