Bottle Bill Resource Guide


United Kingdom (Wales, England, Northern Ireland)

On March 28, 2018, the United Kingdom’s Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that a beverage container deposit return scheme will be introduced, subject to a consultation process to determine the details of the law and program operation. [1] Public consultation on the implementation of the scheme opened in February 2019, and closed May 13, 2019. [2] A second consultation was held from March 2021 to June 2021. [3]

The program is tentatively set up to encompass England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. PET bottles and metal cans ranging from 50mL to 3L in size will be included. Glass containers will also be accepted in Wales, similar to Scotland's proposed scheme. [4] In England, glass containers will instead be considered  part of the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging program. [5] The scheme is expected to launch in October 2027 with an 90% redemption rate goal within three years. [6] Further details, such as the deposit management organization and administrative regulations will be decided at a later date beginning in spring 2025.


Teaming up with Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government announced it would be implementing its own deposit scheme, after opening up consultation from June 23, 2018 to September 25, 2018. [7] In May 2019, the Government outlined the scheme's design, with a stated 20p deposit on all single-use containers. [8] In May 2020, the government passed legislation to implement the scheme in August 2023. [9] No scheme administrator has been announced.

In April 2023, the UK Government imposed a number of significant restrictions on Scotland's deposit scheme. Some restrictions included the removal of glass, excluding containers under 100 ml, products under 5,000 units per year, as well as excluding hospitality retailers where most drinks are consumed on site. The UK Government as well also required Scotland's scheme to align with schemes across the UK. Ministers determined that Scotland's deposit system needed the UK government to publish more details and cannot go forward until they do. The Scottish government has since announced to launch their DRS at the same time as the British scheme in October 2027.[10] 


[1] "Deposit return scheme in fight against plastic." Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. March 28, 2018.

[2] "Consultation outcome: Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers (bottles and cans)." Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Last updated August 22, 2019.

[3] " Introducing a Deposit Return Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland." Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. March 24, 2021.

[4] "Tomra gives thumbs up to UK bottle bills." Taylor, Brian. Recycling Today. April 4, 2022.

[5]  "Deposit Return Scheme: glass drinks containers UK government policy statement."  Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. April 25, 2024.

[6] "Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers: joint policy statement."  Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. April 25, 2024.

[7] "A deposit scheme for Scotland." Scottish Government, last updated February 25, 2019.

[8] "Scotland launches 20p deposit scheme for drinks cans and bottles." The Guardian. May 8, 2019.

[9] "Deposit Return Scheme." Scottish Government. Last accessed April 19, 2022.

[10] See footnote 6.


Last Updated on March 1, 2024.

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