The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Amendment Regulations 2023

Jurisdiction: Scotland

Commencement: 1st March 2024

Amends: The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020

Mini Summary

The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020 are made under section 84 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, which allows for the creation of a deposit and return scheme in Scotland for the purpose of waste reduction and promoting recycling.

They set out the legal requirements for producers* and retailers** of scheme articles*** for a deposit and return scheme where consumers are charged a deposit of 20p for each scheme article sold.

* The definition of a producer depends on where the scheme article produced has been branded. Producers are defined as:

  • the brand owner for scheme articles branded in the UK;
  • the importer for scheme articles branded outside the UK.

A retailer of scheme articles can also be classed as a producer if they package and seal scheme articles themselves and then sell them to consumers for consumption off of the premises.

**Retailers are persons who market or sell scheme articles in Scotland.

***Scheme articles*are drinks sold in packaging that:

  • is made (wholly or mainly) from glass, steel, aluminium or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic;
  • contains at least 50 millilitres but no more than 3 litres of liquid;
  • can be sealed air/watertight for sale;
  • cannot be returned to its original state once used by the consumer; and
  • is single-use packaging.

In addition to charging deposits, these Regulations require:

  • producers to collect a percentage of their scheme packaging;
  • retailers to operate a return point for scheme packaging at the premises they sell from; and
  • retailers who operate delivery services to operate a takeback service to allow customers to return scheme packaging.

These Regulations come into force in the following stages and are expanded upon in the duties section:

  • 19th May 2020 – the creation of scheme administrators;
  • 1st January 2021 – exemptions from operating a return point premises;
  • 1st January 2022 – registering as a producer; and
  • 1st March 2024 – the start of the deposit and return scheme in Scotland.

These Regulations were bought into force by the Scottish Government to promote a circular economy, encouraging people through monetary incentives to return waste so they can be recycled.


Various duties apply.


The scheme is delayed and now fully comes into force on 1st March 2024.

Low Volume Drink Sales

The marketing or sale (including through online retail or vending machine sales to a consumer in Scotland) of a low volume drink product (a drink product with fewer than 5000 units sold per year) will now be prohibited, unless the producer is listed or registered with Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The seller must also inform the purchaser that the product is not eligible under the return scheme.

Further guidance is issued in the addition of Schedule 5.
Information to be included in the application for producer registration for low volume drink sales can be found here.

Date changes

Regulation 5 (obligations relating to charging deposits and marketing, offering for sale or selling articles) now comes into force on 1st March 2024.

Producers must now apply for producer registration before 12th January 2024 or within 28 days from becoming a producer. In subsequent years, applications must be made before 1st March each year. 

SEPA now has 42 days in receipt of an application to either grant or refuse it. The registration takes effect from March 2024 and then 1st April in any subsequent relevant year.

Return points

A retailer whose number of sales of eligible scheme items to consumers for consumption on the premises constitutes 90% or more of that retailer’s total number of sales of scheme articles is exempt from operating a return point. Any exempt premises are required to display exemption information on the premises.

Return point operators are allowed to refuse returned items of a particular material if that material would put them in breach of legal obligations relating to food safety or health and safety. If this is the case then the operator must display signage explaining which materials will not be accepted, and where the nearest accepted return point is.

Hospitality retailers are required to retain scheme packaging for collection by a producer or scheme administrator.

Takeback services

A large retailer must provide a takeback service free of charge to a consumer that:

  • has purchased a scheme item from the large retailer through a distance retail sale;
  • makes a request to the large retailer within 6 months of the purchase of a scheme item for provision of a takeback service; and
  • states that they meet one of the eligibility criteria of being either over 65 years of age or has a disability.

A large retailer providing a takeback service must now:

  • do so within 4 weeks following receipt of a request from a consumer; and
  • clearly display information in any place where the scheme item is displayed for sale indicating how the service can be requested and refusal and complaints procedures.

Where a takeback service is provided voluntarily by a retailer other than a large retailer, that retailer must comply with the obligations of a large retailer in this regulation.


The 2020 Regulations are now required to be reviewed by 21st October 2027.

Collection Targets

Beginning from 1st January 2025 and ending 31st December 2025, the collection target of the scheme is 80%.
From 1st January 2026 the collection target is increased to 90%.


Link to full government text


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