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Deposit Return Schemes: What do I need to know?

02 March 2023
Scotland's Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) goes live in August 2023, with the rest of the UK introducing plans to implement a similar scheme. We take a look at some key features and differences.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), along with the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales, have published a response to their second consultation on a Deposit Return Scheme on 20 January 2023. 

This announced that the expected start date for a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 1 October 2025. DEFRA are to work with the industry, Welsh Government, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland to set up the scheme. 

Scotland has its own plans in place to implement DRS, with the go live date set for 16 August 2023. The Regulations for the rest of the UK are intended to come into force by the end of 2023. It is worth noting that England and Northern Ireland will have separate regulations to Wales.
There are a number of similarities and differences between the proposed DRS for England, Northern Ireland and Wales and the DRS for Scotland.

Download this useful table which highlights the key elements of each scheme.

Manufacturers, retailers and those in hospitality will also need to assess the applicability of the schemes to their business operations, including:

  • whether the scheme applies to them and there is a need to register; 
  • contracting for a reverse vending machine;
  • whether to apply for any exemptions; 
  • if any lease agreements need amending to facilitate a RVM; 
  • whether the scheme affects waste management contracts, the security of waste and the logistics of collection; and
  • changes to the distribution model.

The response to the consultation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is available here. 

We have extensive experience of assisting businesses to prepare for the scheme in Scotland. If you have any questions please contact Caroline Colliston or your usual DWF contact.

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