DRS in the UK

Deposit Return Scheme

DRS in the UK
DRS in the UK

Deposit Return Scheme

DRS in the UK

What is a deposit return scheme (DRS)?

A DRS is where a consumer pays an up-front deposit on an item at point of purchase, this is redeemed on the return of the item to a designated return point. The provision of a financial incentive aims to change consumer behaviour encouraging higher recycling rates, increasing the quality of recycling materials, and significantly reduce litter. Deposit return schemes are already successfully established in many countries.


Deposit Return Schemes in the UK

There are two Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) to be implemented in the UK specifically for beverage containers:

  • DRS (Scotland)

From 16 August 2023, a refundable 20p deposit will apply to all in-scope drinks containers sold in Scotland (50ml – 3 litre containers).

The scheme aims to capture at least 90% drinks containers made from PET plastic, steel, aluminium, and glass in Scotland.

Circularity Scotland Limited is the new administrator for the scheme

There is extensive information on the DRS (Scotland) available on the Zero Waste Scotland website.


  • DRS (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

A second consultation on this closed June 4th, 2021, summary of responses would be expected later in 2021 and it is intended to be operational from late 2024.


Consultation on Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland


This consultation covered all aspects of how a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland may be implemented including:

  • What products are included,
  • Who is obligated and outlines what their obligations will be,
  • Deposit rates to be added to products,
  • Mandatory labelling to be introduced to in-scope products.


Contact Greenstreets to help you navigate the changes and provide further guidance.

For further details please consult Introduction of a deposit return scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland Consultation.