The role of a scheme administrator is defined in The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020 as being responsible for submitting applications on behalf of a producer and complying with the regulations on their behalf. 

Recognising the benefits of appointing a single scheme administrator, Scotland’s major drinks producers, wholesalers and retailers have collaborated to create one body that would operate in everyone’s best interests. 

Circularity Scotland is the product of that collaboration and has won approval from the Scottish Government to become a Scheme Administrator.  We are legally entitled to act on producers’ behalf, fulfilling their legal duties as detailed in the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) regulations. 

As part of our duties as Scheme Administrator, Circularity Scotland will liaise with and report to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) who have been tasked by the Scottish Government with regulating the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

What does a scheme administrator do? 

As a scheme administrator, we are responsible for the day-to-day management of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). We are a commercial organisation run on a not -for-profit basis. We will collect revenues and distribute payments to everyone involved in the scheme, ensuring that these are accurately monitored and audited. 

We also take responsibility for the collection of all returned containers and will ensure that the materials achieve optimal prices and recycling outcomes. We make key decisions on fees, payment terms and collection services (in conjunction with independent consultants) and communicate these to every business operating within the scheme. 

Why producers have chosen to use a scheme administrator?

Drinks producers and importers are legally entitled to make their own arrangements to meet their new obligations. Alternatively, they can chose to nominate a scheme administrator to fulfil these on their behalf. 

In return for this service, users pay a small fee for each container they sell in Scotland but efficiency and economies of scale mean that this will be vastly less costly than administering their own duties under the scheme.


The DRS Regulations allow for drinks producers and importers to nominate a scheme administrator to act on their behalf and fulfil their obligations. These include refunding return point operators and organising collections of empty containers from their premises. 

As scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland will also manage the financial flow of fees and deposits, arrange the sale of recyclable materials from returned containers and other administrative and reporting functions.


Circularity Scotland will work with companies throughout the supply chain to create the best possible systems. By pooling everyone’s resources in a single scheme administrator, we can develop the most efficient and economical solutions. 

This will ensure that consumers are presented with a single clear and consistent identity so they know exactly what to do with their empty drinks containers. This coherent approach is more likely to meet the Government’s aspiration of collecting more than 90% of Scotland’s drinks containers.

Payment will take the form of a small fee - paid for by producers - which will be charged on every drinks container entering the market. The level of this fee will be set annually by Circularity Scotland and will reflect the prices realised for the recyclate collected in the scheme. The better the market for recycled materials, the lower the fee will be.