Campaigners have welcomed the news that small businesses will be supported to launch Scotland’s deposit return scheme on time this year in August 2023. The support has been organised and funded by the industry-led scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland and welcomed by the Scottish Government.

Circularity Scotland announced today (21 February) that there will be an investment of £22 million to support small businesses to prepare for the introduction of the scheme. A two month grace period will also be given to businesses as the scheme begins, to smooth the transition.

The deposit return scheme will work by people paying a 20p deposit when they buy a drink in a single-use container made of plastic, metal or glass. When the containers are returned, this provides a guaranteed source of high-quality materials for recycling. 

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The announcement today demonstrates commitment from Circularity Scotland and the businesses they represent to start the scheme on time in August 2023, and we’re pleased to see that support is being given to smaller businesses to address their concerns.

“This announcement should end calls for further delays. To undo the building of momentum for the scheme would be counterproductive for producers and retailers planning for an August introduction, as well as risking further environmental pollution from discarded drinks containers.

“It is fundamental to the long-term success of the scheme that the costs of Scotland’s deposit return scheme come from industry. Part of the purpose of a scheme like this is to make sure the responsibility for cleaning up is held by the companies that are producing the waste, rather than from the public purse, as is currently the case.”

Announcement from Circularity Scotland 



Friends of the Earth Scotland briefing on DRS, February 2023