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Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

The Deposit Return Scheme will be implemented in Scotland from 16 August 2023 and in the rest of the UK sometime in 2024.

It will require retailers of drinks products in certain packaging types to charge a deposit as part of the sale price that will be returned to anyone bringing back the packaging to a participating retailer ie one that has sold drinks in the relevant packaging.

For Scotland, the regulations have been published 

The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020

with an amendment to change the start date to 2023

Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Amendment Regulations SSI 2022/76

The Scoittish system will cover:packaging that:

  • is made wholly or mainly from PET plastic, glass, steel or aluminium,
  • is conceived or designed to—
    • contain at least 50 millilitres and no more than 3 litres of liquid, and
    • be sealed in an airtight and watertight state at the point of sale,
  • cannot be returned to its state at the point of sale by the consumer, and
  • is single-use packaging,

For the rest of the UK, Defra published a consultation in March 2021 but as of March 15 2022, have yet to publish the government response.

Once introduced, packaging in scope for DRS will be exempt from the current packaging waste regulations and the future EPR.

Further information on the Scottish proposals can be found here.


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