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Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme: Is your business ready?

Partner Message

This message has been sent by The Drinks Report on behalf of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

If you produce or import drinks for sale in Scotland, or if you sell drinks to consumers in Scotland, there are obligations that you may need to comply with under the new Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020.

When Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is introduced in August 2023, people will pay a 20p deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container. They will get this back when they return the empty container to a return point. It is designed to encourage the return of empty single-use containers for collection for recycling – helping to tackle climate change, increase the quantity and quality of materials collected for recycling and decrease litter.

Canned drinks and crowlers will be covered by the scheme.

What do I need to do?

If you are a drinks producer:

Drinks producers are responsible for the management and collection of their empty drink containers for recycling. All drinks sold in PET plastics, glass, aluminium, or steel containers sized between 50ml and 3 litres will be included. 

You are a drinks producer if you are:

●      a drinks brand owner (for scheme articles branded in the UK)

●      an importer of drinks into the UK for sale to consumers in Scotland (for scheme articles branded outside the UK)

●      selling drinks in single-use containers that are filled and sealed by the retailer at the point of sale (e.g. a crowler)

To sell your products to consumers in Scotland, you need to be registered with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). If you’re not registered by 1 March 2023, then you might not be able to sell your drinks in Scotland after August 2023. You can register either directly with SEPA, or through the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland.

If you are concerned about being able to meet the registration deadline, you should get in touch with SEPA or contact Circularity Scotland for advice and guidance.

If you are a drinks retailer:

Once the scheme goes live in August 2023, retailers will be responsible for making sure the drinks they sell are from registered producers and for charging customers the deposit when they are sold. It’s also important that you display information in-store to help customers understand which drinks are part of the scheme and how much the deposit is. 

Where can I find out more?
Businesses must prepare for DRS now. There is up-to-date guidance on our website that sets out what producers need to do to prepare for registration. This includes information on routes to register, a guide to help determine which drinks are part of the scheme and operational plan guidance.

Visit to find out more.

Drinks sold in glass bottles will need to be registered with SEPA.

9 February 2023 -