Deposit Return Scheme

Are you aware of how the Deposit Return Scheme will impact your business? Act now to mitigate increased costs.
What is the Deposit Return Scheme?

What is the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)?

The DRS is one of the key measures outlined by government in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy and in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is scheduled to be implemented in 2027. The aim of the DRS is to increase capture of drinks containers for recycling. Consumers will pay a small deposit on PET plastic bottles and aluminium cans in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the same applying to Wales but with the potential inclusion of glass. Drinks containers made of the above materials from 150ml up to 3l will be obligated across the UK. The deposits can be refunded at a retailer return point or reverse vending machines.

Am I impacted?

The exact detail the DRS in the UK are yet to be finalised, but all producers of in-scope drink containers will be required to meet a collection target set by government. This will include those who import items to be sold in the UK. It is not yet confirmed whether Wales will be able to include glass bottles in their scheme, or must align with the other three nations in terms of in-scope material. Despite this, government policy statements have confirmed the desire to ensure the schemes are as interoperable as possible. Key decisions are yet to be decided including, for instance, the deposit amount that must be applied to each container. These details will be confirmed once Deposit Management Organisations (DMOs) have been established for each country.

When is it taking place?

The DRS is planned to be implemented in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2027.
Find out more about the latest government response to the DRS

How much will the DRS cost?

The deposit amount and costs to producers have not yet been confirmed. A government consultation in 2021 stated that the legislation will ensure the deposit levels can be adjusted by the management organisations – and proposes a minimum of 10-20p, and a maximum of 30-50p. In any case, the intention is that the deposit amount is the same across the UK. Producer fees will be set to cover costs associated with the logistical, administrative and recycling activities surrounding the scheme.

What do I need to do now?

It is important that you consider the following, especially to check if you need to register now:


If you are an obligated producer placing drinks containers on the market in the Republic of Ireland, you should register now. Visit re-turn.ie now to find out how.

Registration details for England, Scotland, Wales and NI are yet to be confirmed. 

Product categorisation and tracing

In-scope containers will likely have to be earmarked for the deposit mechanism, for instance via their SKU codes and labelling requirements. Once these have been confirmed packaging lines will need to be modified to comply


If you have a retail (supermarket or convenience store) site that sells in-scope material, you will likely have to host consumer take-back. This may involve installing a reverse vending machine or having a back of store area to keep empty containers. 

The Deposit Management Organisations will be responsible for managing financial flows, including producer fees, logistics, and potentially infrastructural activities such as maintaining reverse vending machines. 




We are here to support you

If you think you could be affected by the Deposit Return Scheme, we can assist you through data assurance and analysis, including cost forecasting to model how your business will be impacted so that you can be fully prepared.
Request DRS support now

Future services and support

We are developing further services to support our members with the future requirements of the DRS and are working with government and industry to seek further clarification on the mechanics and requirements of the system. We will continue to offer guidance as legislation is updated and we will let our members know what further support we will provide in the future.

Find out more about packaging EPR

Discover if other Extended Producer Responsibility measures will impact you, including the Plastic Packaging Tax and modulated fees.