Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme: What does it mean for Falkirk businesses?

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is reminding Falkirk shopkeepers and businesses they will have legal responsibilities to meet when the Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) begins in 2023.
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If you make, import, buy or sell drinks in Scotland you may have legal responsibilities – and obligations – to follow under The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020.

Scotland is introducing the DRS in August 2023 and this means when you buy a drink in a single-use container you will pay a 20p deposit, which you get back when you return your empty bottle or can.

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The scheme is designed to encourage the return of empty single-use containers for collection for recycling. It is hoped it will help to tackle climate change, increase quantity and quality of materials collected for recycling, and decrease litter.

The Deposit Return Scheme begins in August 2023The Deposit Return Scheme begins in August 2023
The Deposit Return Scheme begins in August 2023

A SEPA spokesperson said: “The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020 set out the legal requirements of the scheme. They apply to drink producers, drink importers and anyone marketing or offering for sale drinks in Scotland packaged in a single-use container made from PET plastic, glass, steel or aluminium sized between 50ml and three litres.

"In the regulations these are called scheme articles. You may also see them being referred to as scheme containers. If you produce or import drinks for sale in Scotland that are sold in scheme containers, you must register to be part of the scheme.

"If you sell drinks in scheme containers to consumers in Scotland, you will have to make sure they are from a registered producer and charge the deposit on each drink. You may also have to operate a return point or offer a take back service.”

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SEPA is the regulator for Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme and is responsible for the producer registration service.

"We will work with producers, retailers and the scheme administrator to help them understand their obligations and what they need to do to comply with the scheme. We will publish a list of all registered producers and carry out audits, inspections and enforcement activity, ensuring the scheme is a success and compliance is non-negotiable.

“Drink producers, importers, wholesalers and retailers all have obligations under The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020. You may have obligations under more than one category.​

“A scheme administrator is responsible for the day-to-day management of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme. Once approved by Scottish Ministers, they are legally able to act on behalf of one or more producers to fulfil their legal obligations as detailed in The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020.

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“A producer can either choose to nominate the scheme administrator to fulfil their obligations for a small fee or make their own arrangements to meet them, including registering directly with SEPA.

“Circularity Scotland Ltd are currently the only approved scheme administrator. They are an industry-led, privately owned and not-for-profit enterprise. We will publish and maintain a register of all producers who are registered to market and sell scheme articles in Scotland.

"Retailers and wholesalers will be able to check the register to ensure the producers they are purchasing drinks from are registered to sell drinks in Scotland. The register will be available to check after producer registration closes in March 2023."

Visit the SEPA website for more information.