How to Prepare for the Deposit Return Scheme

We want you to be ready for DRS before this legislation comes in to force, so make sure you're up to speed on how you can be prepared.

Set up a programme to manage the Deposit Return Scheme

Organising for the Deposit Return Scheme is likely to be a substantial, cross-functional undertaking for your business. We advise setting up a formal programme structure and resourcing it well. Having a clear business owner, programme manager, sponsor and the support of a senior and cross-functional steering committee may be helpful.

Britvic is happy to share its own experience of preparing for a DRS from our own programme manager. Please contact:

Engage your executive team as soon as possible

For most businesses, the scale of the change will require Board/Executive team support. We suggest getting them familiar with the scheme, its implications, and what your business needs to do to respond. Britvic is happy to support in this process, including attending in person.

Seek professional advice to plan for DRS

We are here to partner with you. However, there is other support available, often from trade bodies. Maintain regular contact with your trade body to keep abreast of all new developments and ensure your interests are well represented. A list of helpful contacts is available at the back of this section.

Start to build financial assumptions and plans

Your involvement in the Deposit Return Scheme may involve cash flow implications and capital planning, especially if you’re planning to buy a Return Vending Machine (RVM). It is advisable to plan early for this. Ensure that your finance and IT departments are familiar with the Deposit Return Scheme as it may also mean adjustments to the way you manage your P&L, invoices and so on.

Visualise the DRS implications in-outlet

The outlet will be the “front line” of the Deposit Return Scheme, not just for your business but the whole scheme. Thinking through what it means for front and back of house operations will be key.

A good start is to identify the average amount of Deposit Return Scheme beverage containers you sell per day and assume you will take back the same amount every day – what does this volume of material look like in practical terms once collected in bags? That will give you an initial sense of what needs handling on a daily basis in an outlet and provide a useful starting point for what the Deposit Return Scheme means in practical terms for your front line staff. Incorporating RVMs and storage considerations into your future outlet refit plans for the next few years is advisable.

It's all about the consumer

We recommend thinking about the Deposit Return Scheme from the “consumer backwards”. The Deposit Return Scheme will become part of the consumer’s normal routine. The sooner and smoother the consumer feels that, the quicker you can take advantage of the Deposit Return Scheme. For example, if you are a supermarket, giving your consumers a great Deposit Return Scheme experience may become as important as offering good car parking facilities, short queues at the till, clean toilets, etc.

Treating the Deposit Return Scheme as a key service will be vital in maintaining and winning footfall. In the same way as we suggest for your staff, having a robust engagement/communications plan with your consumers will important. You may also want to go a step further and use the Deposit Return Scheme as an opportunity to create an area in your outlet for more recycling e.g. batteries, soft plastics, etc; become the one-stop shop preferred recycling centre for consumers in your community.   

Get your marketing team on board

Finally, ensure your in-outlet marketing team are part of your Deposit Return Scheme programme. One of the biggest tasks we face is to ensure that consumers feel positive about the Deposit Return Scheme and see it as a deposit to “borrow the bottle”, not as an additional price. Remember, the price of the product (and any promotional price point) does not change – so price/promotion should be the primary message at point of purchase, with the deposit shown separately and secondary. Ensuring this is clearly communicated at point of purchase is critical to eliminate any volume risk.




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Are you ready for DRS?

It is coming no matter what, so read our guide to make sure you're prepared.

Getting ready for DRS