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Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) administrator Circularity Scotland claims that the country is on course to introduce the scheme in August, with producers responsible for more than 95% of the containers sold in Scotland now registered.

Today also marks the opening of registration for Return Point Operators (RPOs). RPOs include stores that will be accepting returns over the counter and refunding consumers’ deposits from the till, as well as those operating a Reverse Vending Machine which will automatically accept containers and refund deposits as vouchers.

Most retailers that sell drinks to take away are legally required to operate a return point. However, they can apply for an exemption based on proximity to other return points or environmental health reasons. This is being managed by Zero Waste Scotland.

By 28 February, 26,000 products had been registered with the scheme and SEPA, the DRS’s regulator, has confirmed registration will remain open to enable all producers to sign up in time for the launch of the DRS on 16 August, 2023.

Circularity Scotland chief executive, David Harris, said: “This is a fantastic start and a real landmark for the Deposit Return Scheme, which is set to deliver ground-breaking environmental benefits to Scotland.

“I would like to warmly welcome and thank all those producers who have registered for the scheme and emphasise that our team of experts are on hand to continue supporting registration.

“We’ve never underestimated the challenge of delivering a scheme which requires the support of so many Scottish businesses. They will all be helping us to reach the goal of recycling billions of PET plastic, glass and metal drinks containers a year. We’re now well on the way to achieving that vital ambition.

“I would encourage those producers who have begun their registration to complete it as soon as possible and can assure those producers who have yet to sign up, that we have people on hand to support them through the process.”

Further guidance for retailers on DRS Scotland has been published by Association of Convenience Stores.