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Scotland’s deposit return scheme delayed


Published: 25 Apr 2023 Update History

The scheme that was due to commence in August will now be introduced in October 2025 at the earliest.
Delayed until at least October 2025

On 7 June 2023, it was announced that the launch of Scotland’s deposit return scheme will be delayed until at least October 2025 as a consequence of the UK Government’s refusal to agree a full exclusion from the Internal Market Act.

In a statement on 18 April, Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf confirmed that Scotland’s deposit return scheme would be delayed to 1 March 2024. The additional time would be used to work with businesses to address concerns with the scheme.  

A package of measures to simplify the scheme and support small businesses has also been announced. The changes are: 

  • drinks containers of under 100ml (instead of 50ml) will be excluded;
  • products that sell fewer than 5,000 units per year will be excluded;
  • all hospitality premises that sell a large majority of their drinks products for consumption on the premises will be exempt from acting as a return point; and
  • the online application process for retailers to apply for an exemption from providing a return point has been simplified. 

The 5,000 units per year threshold is expected to remove only 0.5% of drinks containers from the scheme, but will remove the need for 44% of businesses to apply a deposit to their products. The changes are subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament. 

Drinks producers have until 12 January 2024 to register for the scheme. Find out more on requirements under the scheme for producers, retailers and wholesalers. 

There remains a live consultation on the VAT treatment of statutory deposit return schemes introduced in the UK.  

Further reading: 


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  • Update History
    09 Jun 2023 (12: 00 AM BST)
    Updated to reflect the fact that the scheme has been delayed until October 2025 at the earliest.
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