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Drinks cans and bottles deposit return scheme

Deposit Return Scheme

A deposit return scheme (DRS) is being developed for implementation in March 2024.

A DRS involves customers paying a 20p deposit when they purchase a drink in a single-use container that is designed to be taken away (plastic bottles, glass bottles, metal cans, etc). The deposit is refunded in full when the empty container is returned.

The scheme is designed to deliver two major benefits. It will ensure that materials are recycled to the very highest standards, helping to build a circular economy and it will also reduce the incidence of litter. As well as making Scotland a cleaner, greener place to live and visit, this will protect our ecosystems and save millions of pounds in clean-up and other associated costs. Circularity Scotland are fully responsible for the day-to-day management of Scotland's DRS and South Ayrshire Council Waste Services have no responsibility for the scheme.

This means that from the implementation date of the DRS, these types of containers can be taken to a return site to allow you to get your deposit back.

You will be able to return your bottles and cans to any retail, and hospitality premises that sell drinks to take away in single-use PET plastic, metal or glass containers. Some of these will accept return items over the counter, while larger stores, shopping centres and transport hubs will operate automated receiving points known as reverse vending machines.

We will provide further information nearer the time in relation to any changes to your household waste collection service.

More information about the development of the scheme is available. The scheme will be promoted to all stakeholders prior to implementation, so keep an eye out for further information.

Producer and retailer information

Scotland's DRS is operated by the Scheme Administrator, Circularity Scotland. They make key decisions on:

  • stakeholder engagement
  • communications
  • manual and reverse collections
  • fees
  • payment terms
  •  collection services

They have committed to communicate these to every business operating within the scheme.

Circularity Scotland has information for the retail sector,  the hospitality sector and for producers which will be of use to local businesses in these sectors who are impacted by the scheme.


You can also contact Circularity Scotland for further information or sign up on their website for regular updates.