As a retailer who sells packaged drinks in Scotland, you have a key role to play in ensuring the deposit return scheme operates successfully. Retailers include all those who market, offer for sale or sell drinks in Scotland. This can be face-to-face, online retail, sales in a hospitality setting, sales from vending machines and wholesalers.

Using a clear labelling system on shelves and displays holding deposit-bearing drinks will help consumers understand the system. Wherever these drinks are for sale, retailers must display information about the value of the deposit and how to redeem it.

Under the terms of the scheme, drinks retailers have a legal requirement to accept returns of empty drink containers for collection and recycling. They are responsible for paying the deposit on the drinks they buy, and charging the deposit on drinks they sell.

In addition, retailers are legally required to operate a return point, unless you are a closed loop hospitality provider or have been granted an exemption by Zero Waste Scotland.

As a retailer, you must:

  • Only sell drinks from registered producers
  • Only sell drinks to consumers in Scotland that a producer has made available for sale in Scotland
  • Charge the 20p deposit when selling a drink that is part of the scheme
  • Make the customer aware that the drink is part of the scheme, and a deposit applies
  • Clearly display the price of the deposit in any place where a drink is displayed for sale
  • Clearly display information on how the customer can redeem the deposit
  • Operate a return point (unless exempt)
  • Store returned empty containers in a safe way, following the Duty of Care code of practice

From 1 March 2024, if you sell any drinks that were available for sale before the scheme went live, you must communicate to the customer that the drink is not part of the scheme and that the empty container cannot be returned for a deposit.

SEPA will publish an online public register of all producers that are part of Scotland’s deposit return scheme. This register will be available before the scheme goes live on 1 March 2024.

Register as a return point