Deposit Return Scheme

With the first Deposit Return Scheme due to launch in October 2025, we’re here to help UK retail, hospitality and leisure businesses get ready to successfully participate in the DRS. 

On Tuesday 18th April the Scottish government announced a delay to the Scottish DRS.

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.

What is a Deposit Return Scheme?

A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is a drinks container recycling scheme where consumers pay a deposit on a beverage in a single use container, and that deposit  can be reclaimed by consumers upon return of the empty container. A deposit return scheme aims to incentivise positive behavioural change and reduce littering while encouraging people to return containers for recycling by placing value on a single use container.

Why introduce a Deposit Return Scheme?

A deposit return scheme incentivises behaviour change, presents a symbolic challenge to a throwaway culture and is a significant further step on our journey to developing a more circular economy. Benefits will also include more and better recycling, litter prevention, and tackling climate change.

There are over 50 Deposit Return Schemes in place across the world at the moment delivering against these key objectives.

What next?

The regulations are currently being drafted for the schemes for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and we know Scotland need to update their regulations for the delay. As more information becomes available, we will ensure that it is shared here with you.