Managing waste

Deposit return scheme

We are introducing a deposit return scheme (DRS) for single-use drinks containers, to help improve quality and quantity of recycling, reduce litter and achieve our climate change targets.

Our DRS will be among the most environmentally ambitious and accessible in Europe, including tens of thousands of return points for plastic, metal and glass containers, as well as pick-ups for online deliveries.

The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020, passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2020, create the legal framework for the scheme. The Environmental Regulation (Enforcement Measures) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020 has also been passed, giving additional powers to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to enforce the scheme.

In December 2021 we published two reports that had been produced by an independent review into the implementation of DRS.These are available here:

In response to the findings of the review and feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, we have laid amending Regulations before the Scottish Parliament to change the full implementation date to 16 August 2023 and make a small number of other changes to the original Regulations to support successful delivery of the scheme.

The amending Regulations can be viewed here: The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Amendment Regulations 2022 (

Policy development

Alongside the amending Regulations we have published:

These documents update the BRIA and SEA Addendum published alongside the original Regulations to take into account the changes made by the amending Regulations. The following impact assessments and other documents published alongside the original Regulations remain valid:

Details of the scheme were announced in May 2019, following a public consultation in 2018. An analysis of responses to the consultation is available here. The Deposit Return Scheme Implementation Advisory Group provided industry experience and advice on practical issues relating to the operation of the scheme.

The policy has been designed in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland. Further information about the scheme is available on their website. Also on their website are details for retailers seeking to apply to the Scottish Ministers for an exemption from the obligation to operate a return point, and for others seeking to apply to the Scottish Ministers to be registered as a voluntary return point.

Scheme administrator

Drinks producers have the option of appointing a scheme administrator to discharge their responsibilities under the scheme. Before a scheme administrator can operate it must apply to the Scottish Ministers and be approved. Read more information on how to apply, including the application form.

On 24 March 2021 the Scottish Ministers approved an application from Circularity Scotland Ltd to be a scheme administrator. More information is available on their website.

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