Clydesdale businesses urged to register for deposit returns scheme by March 1

Drinks producers are being urged not to delay registering for Scotland’s landmark Deposit Return Scheme as the deadline fast approaches.
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Producers not registered by March 1 might not be able to sell their product in Scotland after the scheme goes live in August.

The scheme is a first for the UK and puts Scotland on a path to a more circular economy by incentivising the return of bottles and cans.

By 2025 it will capture 90 per cent of all drink containers included in the scheme, which is expected to provide two billion drink containers a year for recycling.

Local businesses are being urged to register before the deadline on March 1.Local businesses are being urged to register before the deadline on March 1.
Local businesses are being urged to register before the deadline on March 1.

The scheme applies to soft and alcoholic drinks sold in single-use containers between 50ml and 3 litres which are made from PET, plastic, glass, aluminium and steel.

All producers making or businesses importing these products for sale in Scotland are required to register with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) before March 1, either directly or via Circularity Scotland.

The scheme will go live on August 16, when producers will have to charge a 20p deposit on each container they place on the market and arrange for empties to be collected for recycling, meeting collection targets.

Retailers, wholesalers and hospitality businesses in Scotland must also comply with the Deposit Return Scheme Regulations, though do not have to register with SEPA. Their obligations include only selling drinks from a registered producer and including the 20p deposit on each drink sold. They will also act as a return point, providing information on how customers can bring back their empty containers and receive a refund of the 20p deposit.

Jo Zwitserlood, SEPA head of materials, said: “We’re firmly focused on helping businesses do the right thing for our planet and become more sustainable.

“Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme supports a move away from a throwaway culture and gives producers a leading role in that behaviour change as they will be responsible for the environmental impacts of their products throughout their life cycle. This is a significant step towards developing a more circular economy.

“We’re here to help and have lots of guidance available on the scheme, information on which drinks are part of it and help with creating operational plans.”

How to register

Registration is open now, with producers able to register via the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, or directly with SEPA.

More information on how businesses can appoint Circularity Scotland to register with SEPA on their behalf can be found on the website,

Producers that don’t sign-up by March 1 risk not being able to sell their products in Scotland.

Any business concerned about being able to meet the registration deadline, or any other obligations, is encouraged to get in touch with SEPA or contact Circularity Scotland for advice.

After the deadline, SEPA will publish a list of all producers who are registered to market and sell their drinks in Scotland.

More information on registering can be found at