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A well-designed Deposit Return Scheme reduces littering, improves the quality and quantity of recycling, and plays a positive role in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
Scotland had planned to be the first nation in the UK to implement a Deposit Return Scheme however in June 2023 this was delayed. You can read the statement from the Scottish Government here. Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will now launch in October 2025 at the same time as Deposit Return Schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Republic of Ireland has a separate Deposit Return Scheme going live in February 2024. You can find more information about the scheme here.
The target of a 90% capture rate across all three materials by 2024 would see Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme rank amongst the world’s top performing schemes. The first year target is 70% and the second year 80%.
Nearly 50 Deposit Return Schemes for drinks operate worldwide. In Europe, over 130 million consumers already use a Deposit Return Scheme as part of their daily lives. Deposit Return Schemes deliver high recycling rates in countries such as Sweden, Germany and Estonia.
20p per individual container.
Expected that drinks producers will form a Scheme Administrator (SA) to run the scheme day to day. The Scheme Administrator will be an industry-run, not-for-proﬁt organisation, committed to making the Scotland Deposit Return Scheme world-class in eﬃciency and eﬀectiveness (targeting a minimum 90% collection rate).
The scheme will be paid for in three ways:
As a retailer, you are not expected to pay for the scheme, and will be reimbursed via a “retailer handling fee” for any fair costs you incur for your role in the scheme.
Yes. Scheme obligations for sale of scheme container products are the same in Scotland, regardless of where business operations are located.
Under the scheme you are classified as a “hospitality business” as you will effectively operate a “closed loop” system because you are not selling containers for off-site consumption.
You will still be obligated to participate in the Deposit Return Scheme by paying the 20p deposit per unit in the way that retail shops will, and then return these containers to the Scheme Administrator, again in the same way that retail shops will.
However, the outlet will NOT be legally required to charge the deposit to consumers on the containers they sell (it is a choice), NOR to act as a “return point” in the scheme, for example, a local pub will not be required to reimburse a deposit on a Robinsons 1L squash a consumer has bought from a supermarket.
This means the outlet is not required to register as a return point but will still need to register with the Scheme Administrator for the purpose of getting empty containers picked up and reimbursing deposits.
If you have any questions, please contact your Britvic account manager who can explain all the nuances.
In such instances e.g. fast food restaurants, or leisure outlets, you are required to act as a full return point. To not act as a full return point and not charge the deposit in your outlet, 100% of your sales need to be for in-outlet consumption.
If you offer a delivery service (e.g. fast food, casual dining, online retail) you will be required to operate a “takeback” service.
This basically means you are part of the Deposit Return Scheme; however, you are only obliged to take back the containers you sell to that customer. For example, if you are a pizza fast food outlet which only stocks Pepsi, Tango and 7UP 330ml and 1.5L bottle SKUs, they would be the only scheme containers you are required to take back.
In practical terms, usage of takeback services is expected to be reasonably limited. They are in place to ensure that the DRS is adopted as widely as possible to ensure the highest collection rates possible, and to provide equal access to those who rely on delivery services to buy their beverages.
Another reason we believe use of takeback services will be limited is because you will be able to levy a temporary charge for using one, to cover the value of materials used in facilitating the collection e.g. cost of bags and tags. Once you have received the containers, you will have to reimburse the deposit itself and any temporary charge imposed for facilitating the collection. We would expect to see some retailers use websites and apps and operate a type of check box to “add takeback” at the checkout point – making this a conscious choice for consumers.
Vending machine operators will be required to pay the deposit to producers like any other retailer, and be required to charge that deposit at the point of purchase (the vending machine) with the deposit price clearly displayed and separate from the container sale price.
Outlets which only have a vending machine and no other retail offer on-site (such as a small factory with no canteen) do not have to act as return points for any containers, however, they may still choose to register as a return point. Outlets which operate a vending machine and a retail outlet on the same site will need to act as a return point, because of the presence of the retail outlet.
These will be exempt from the start. To learn more about exemptions, check out our Exemption FAQs