Drinks Producers Urged To Register For Deposit Return Scheme

The First Minister has encouraged drinks producers to register for Scotland’s deposit return scheme, which will go live on 16 August 2023.

Drinks producers are asked to register with the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, in order to participate in the recycling scheme and to help ensure that they meet their regulatory requirements.

The scheme is expected to cut littering by a third, reducing the amount spent by local authorities on litter clean up, and will increase recycling rates of single-use drinks containers from the current rate of approximately 50% towards 90%.

The First Minister has also written today to the UK Prime Minister, reiterating that the UK Government must exclude the deposit return scheme regulations from the Internal Market Act. The Scottish Government first requested an exclusion in July 2021.

The First Minister said:

“Scotland’s deposit return scheme will be a major part of our efforts to reduce litter, cut emissions and build a greener, more circular economy. Good progress is being made by industry ahead of the scheme’s introduction on 16 August, and I am aware of the significant private investment that has already been made by many businesses to be ready for the scheme, and the many jobs that are being created to operate it.
“I would strongly encourage drinks producers to register with the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland. This is a vital step to ensuring everyone who needs to be is compliant with the regulations and is the best way to make sure that their products can be sold without issue in Scotland.
“I also want to reassure drinks producers with concerns about the impact of the scheme. SEPA has made clear that they will take a proportionate approach to compliance. They will work with businesses to help them get ready – advice and guidance, not fines, will be the first step for any business that is clearly taking action but struggling to meet their obligations.
“The Scottish Government will continue to listen to the concerns of small producers and will consider if there is any further action we can take to support them ahead of the scheme going live.”


A formal process has been agreed between the UK Government and devolved governments to allow for certain policies to be excluded from the effects of UK Internal Market Act where relevant regulations differ between UK nations and agreement has been reached to manage divergent policy. This has already been used successfully  to exclude Scotland’s ban on certain single-use plastic items to ensure the ban was effective.

The Scottish Government first requested an exclusion for DRS as part of the single use plastic exclusion in July 2021. The UK Government only agreed to grant a narrower exclusion, covering the single use plastic regulations only. A further request, for a specific DRS exclusion, commenced in autumn 2022.

Internal Market Act: correspondence

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