Retailers have an important part to play in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) – with registration for Return Point Operators (RPO) now open.

The part that retailers will play in the DRS is three-fold:

  • Provide a place for customers to return their bottles and cans
  • Collect and store the returned bottles and cans
  • Pay out customer deposits

In return for this valuable contributions to communities and the environment, retailers will receive a handling fee.

All retailers and hospitality businesses that sell drinks to take away are legally required to operate a return point from March 1st 2024 (though certain exemptions apply).

Businesses can choose to have a reverse vending machine or take back containers manually.

TOMRA are global providers of reverse vending machines (RVMs), producing seven out of 10 RVMs globally. The company has a team based in Scotland who are already supporting large numbers of businesses as they prepare for the nation’s DRS. You can find out more about how TOMRA can help – and how to contact the team – here.

How do I register my business?

The registration process is through Circularity Scotland, the administrator for Scotland’s DRS.

As a Return Point Operator, retailers can start the registration process here.

What information will I need to register?

Circularity Scotland says you will need the below information to complete your return point registration:

  • Your organisation’s name and address
  • Your company registration number (you can find this on the Companies House website or on your incorporation certificate)
  • Your organisation’s VAT number
  • Names and dates of birth of those who control the organisation
  • Names and contact details of key individuals in your organisation
  • Details of each Return Point, including:
    • Registered name
    • Name above the door (if different to the registered name)
    • Your store name or identifier
    • Site address and contact details
    • Opening hours
    • Return Point type (eg manual, reverse vending machine)
    • SIC code
    • An estimate of the number of units you will return

How do I apply for an exemption?

Circularity Scotland guidance stats that exemptions are based on proximity to another Return Point, or for environmental health reasons. These can be applied for through Zero Waste Scotland, the agency managing the exceptions process. More details are available via the Zero Waste Scotland website.

Is there somewhere I can read the full guidance for Return Point Operators?

Yes. Circularity Scotland has produced a blueprint for ROPs and hospitality providers. You can read that here.

What are the benefits of installing a Reverse Vending Machines?

RVMs help make the DRS simpler for retailers and other Return Point Operators. TOMRA have machines available in a range of sizes to suit store space and layout. Using experience gained from involvement in other DRS’ throughout the world, TOMRA’s team in Scotland is supporting retailers with deposit return. You can book a consultation here.