Drink producers

Drinks producers will play an important role in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme. They will be responsible for the management and collection of their empty drink containers for recycling.

A producer is:

  • a drinks brand owner;
  • an importer of drinks into the UK market;
  • an online operator selling drinks for first time in the UK on the Scottish market;
  • someone selling drinks in single-use containers that are filled and sealed at point of sale (e.g. a crowler).

What does this mean for me?

All drinks producers that want to sell their products in Scotland must register with SEPA to be part of the scheme. This applies to producers of all types of drinks that are packaged in single-use containers made from PET plastic, glass, steel or aluminium, sized between 50ml and 3 litres.

As a producer you will have legal responsibilities that you must comply with under The Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020. These are called producer obligations.

Producer obligations

As a producer you must:

  • register with SEPA (either directly or through the scheme administrator);
  • pay the registration fee​;
  • charge a 20p deposit on the sale price of each scheme article you place on the Scottish market​;
  • arrange for collection of your empty scheme containers​;
  • pay a reasonable handling fee to retailers and return point operators to cover the cost of the collection and storage at return points​;
  • meet collection targets;
  • refund deposits to customers​.

Drinks producers can either discharge their obligations directly or nominate a scheme administrator to fulfil these obligations on their behalf.

SEPA is responsible for ensuring that producers meet their obligations and comply with the Regulations. We will work with drink producers to help you understand what your obligations are and what you need to do to comply.

Do I need to register?

If you produce or import drinks for sale on the Scottish market, you must register as a producer. One registration is required per producer, regardless of the number of sites you operate. 

You are considered a drinks producer if:

  • you are the brand owner of a scheme article that is branded in the UK;
  • you import scheme articles that are branded by a brand owner outside the UK;
  • you package drinks into scheme containers at the point of sale to a consumer, for example, in a crowler.

You will need to renew your producer registration every year.

How can I register?

There are two ways that a producer can register to be part of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme, either directly with SEPA or through the scheme administrator.

Registering directly with SEPA

If you would like to register directly with SEPA please contact depositreturn@sepa.org.uk.

It is important to ensure that you have all the information and documents you need before you start the application process. This includes an operational plan, outlining how you will meet your obligations.

Registering through a scheme administrator

If you choose to discharge your obligations through the scheme administrator, they will register with SEPA for you and provide us with the relevant information including an operational plan.

Circularity Scotland Ltd are currently the only approved scheme administrator. Visit the Circularity Scotland website for information on appointing the scheme administrator to act on your behalf.

Producers will pay an annual registration fee to SEPA. No VAT is charged on the registration fee. This fee will be applied according to the size of the business:

  • there will be no registration fee for:
    • producers with an annual turnover of £85,000 or lower;
    • producers that only fill and seal single-use drink containers at point of sale (e.g. crowlers).
  • for all other producers, the registration fee will be £365.

Depending on how you choose to register you will either pay this fee direct to SEPA or to the scheme administrator (who will pay the fee to SEPA when they complete registration on your behalf).

When can I register?

Producers will be able to register with SEPA from 1 January 2023. All registrations must be received by 1 March 2023.

Information about registering through the scheme administrator is available on the Circularity Scotland website.

How can I check who is registered?

We will publish and maintain a register of all producers who are registered to market and sell scheme articles on the Scottish market. You will be able to check the register to see who has registered to be part of the scheme.

The register will be available after the producer registration window closes in March 2023.

Further information