Home   Bins, litter and recycling   Recycling   Deposit Return Scheme

Deposit Return Scheme

A deposit return scheme (DRS) is being developed for implementation in March 2024.

A DRS involves customers paying a 20p deposit when they purchase a drink in a single-use container that is designed to be taken away (plastic bottles, glass bottles, metal cans, etc). The deposit is refunded in full when the empty container is returned.

Circularity Scotland and partners are responsible for the day-to-day management of Scotland’s DRS and North Ayrshire Council Waste Services have no responsibility for the scheme.

This means that from the implementation date of the DRS, these types of containers shouldn't be recycled in your kerbside recycling bins, but instead should be taken to a return site to allow you to get your deposit back. We will remind our residents of the scheme prior to implementation.

You will be able to return your bottles and cans to any retail, and hospitality premises that sell drinks to take away in single-use PET plastic, metal or glass containers. Some of these will accept return items over the counter, while larger stores, shopping centres and transport hubs will operate automated receiving points known as reverse vending machines.

More information about the development of the scheme is available. The scheme will be promoted to all stakeholders prior to implementation, so keep an eye out for further information.

Producer and retailer information

Scotland’s DRS is operated by the Scheme Administrator, Circularity Scotland. They make key decisions on:

  • stakeholder engagement
  • communications
  • manual and reverse collections
  • fees
  • payment terms
  • collection services

They have committed to communicate these to every business operating within the scheme.

Circularity Scotland has information for the retail sector, the hospitality sector and for producers which will be of use to local businesses in these sectors who are impacted by the scheme.

To help answer your questions, the regulators of the scheme, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency have created a list of frequently asked questions about The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020. Please visit FAQs - Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Zero Waste Scotland can answer queries around potential return point exemptions for retailers. Please visit Return point exemptions - Deposit Return Scheme (Zero Waste Scotland).

Is this page useful?