Delivering to Scotland after August 16th 2023

With the Scottish Government intent on bringing in a deposit return scheme for beverage retailers later on this year, how will that affect deliveries to members like ourselves based north of the border?


I wasn’t aware of the full horror of this scheme until recently. And I don’t think most people are aware. It has huge consequences, but what worries me is that local authorities may well stop collections of glass in particular and we will actually recycle less than before. All our plastic and glass bottles are currently collected at the kerb.

Yet another horrendous example of a “government” that just refuses to focus on what really matters and instead goes for attention grabbing nonsense. This is purely to pacify the Greens, whose support the SNP need to continue their relentless obsession for independence at the expense of economic and social success.


Completely agree. The leverage of the Greens is completely disproportionate. I would probably get kicked off here for saying what I really think about a couple of them.

SEPA should start focusing more on their core remit of keeping rivers clean etc and not allowing Scot Gov and large companies to get away with what they do currently.

Perhaps all WS members in Scotland should write to their MSPs telling them what a load of cr@p this is.


One immediately obvious distortion is that people living near the Border will have another (on top of lower duty rates) immediate and clear incentive to shop south of the border. Unless of course the Wee Krankie’s Gestapo are going to search their cars every time.

I really hope that TWS and other online retailers will be putting leverage on about this. My MSP is ok, but many are just nodding donkeys who will do anything they are told.


To be honest I thought that mail order were not part of this plan, but as I buy wine mail order is why I am concerned our existing recycling is impacted. I live rurally and to physically take bottles back to a shop could mean driving 20+ miles for no other reason. This feels like another scheme that doesn’t realise how people outside big cities live. Sorry, but like you I would be banned if I really let loose on this!


It is utter urban centric bureaucratic rubbish. Just like most of the Greens.

I read this with incredulity:
only sell drinks to consumers in Scotland from registered producers;

**Only sell drinks to consumers in Scotland that a producer has made available for sale in Scotland;

Does this mean that every wine producer has to be registered? Or make their wines available for sale in Scotland (as opposed to Scots via online?)

Perhaps the way round it is to make the transaction a sale in England, put it fleetingly through Reserves and then just deliver it? What about someone in England who buys a gift to send to Scotland?

All because the wee neds keep throwing their litter away, but that would mean fining the core vote and we can’t have that can we?

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To be fair I doubt glass recycling collection points will disappear as not all glass is from drinks and I think this new ruling only applies to drinks not jams, sauces etc. supplied in glass.

As to how it will be managed when buying in drinks from across the border, I have no idea!

I belive that at least one council has already indicated that kerbside glass recycling will no longer be economic and is being withdrawn.

Hard to believe someone senior in SEPA isn’t a TWS member and realise the consequences. Maybe I’ll suggest that my mam’s care home in Penrith becomes a delivery point for TWS so that members can hop across the border and collect their orders​:thinking::thinking: I’m sure the residents can be trusted :crazy_face:

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True but it’s wine we’re interested in here :wink:!

Me neither, but as it potentially affect several thousand members, I think it would be good to get a view from TWS @TeresaGirao can you direct this to the right person?

If you google it, there is already a lot of concern, particularly among small, craft beer/whisky producers and hospitality businesses. The whole system looks poorly thought out, if it is designed to reduce/prevent littering (which is good) as it says, then punish the anti socials who do this.

The wording I’ve seen gives me great concern that this might mean small producers decide not to make their product available to Scottish purchasers.

I would also like clarity on the position regarding wine in reserves and EP which has already been purchased.

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My experience of SEPA does not give me confidence that adding 2 and 2 is a core skill set…

I’m sure that there would be plenty of cross border activity another unintended consequence.

Scot Gov are becoming increasingly centralised, ‘nanny state’ and incompetent. They get away with it because the bar is usually even lower south of the Border and they point at that and claim they are doing better.


Hi All,

A topic I, along with others at TWS are currently grappling with.

To answer a few questions raised above from my, quite frustrated, perspective:

Yes, wine bottles are included in the list of “scheme items” which will make them liable for the 20p deposit. We will be obligated to add this 20p to every scheme item we deliver to a Scottish address – so will include gifts ordered in England to go to Scotland.

We are working with all available information to ensure disruption is minimised for members wanting delivery to Scotland but unfortunately, essential information isn’t currently available. Circularity Scotland (CSL) and SEPA are quite busy pointing fingers at each other, meanwhile we don’t have the specifics we need to make important changes to our systems.

Producers are required to register this month. For wine, the definition doesn’t work cleanly. Depending on the label and route to the UK, importers and agents are classed as Producers – which includes TWS for the wines that we import directly. Each individual product will need to be registered by the relevant producer at least 6 weeks prior to going on sale. Producers are responsible for funding the scheme and need to report monthly sales volumes into Scotland from everyone that they supply. Communication by CSL has been very poor in England and awareness of the scheme varies greatly amongst wine importers.

So that scheme items can be recognised by the reverse vending machines (RVMs) that will be rolled out to support the recycling element of the scheme, CSL state that a barcode will be needed on each bottle (not something that happens as a matter of course with wine) and the bottle weight and dimensions will need to be uploaded to their online portal. After drinking their wine, Members will then need to drive to their nearest RVM to drop off their bottles and receive back their deposits. Originally, online retailers were going to have to offer a takeback scheme but that looks to have been postponed for all but the largest retailers. Non scheme items (wine bottles sold prior to launch date, for example) will have to managed by other recycling methods – kerbside collection?

As you might imagine, this scheme creates a very complicated framework of data and financial movements if deposit amounts and sales volumes into Scotland are to move up and down the chain as the scheme intends. The handling of VAT on the deposits is still tbc by HMRC and a number of other fundamental issues such as how to manage en-primeur and in-bond sales have yet to be resolved meaning that we, along with other retailers and producers have an incredibly short time to implement the necessary system changes before the launch date of 16th August. Only yesterday, the Scottish Retail Consortium highlighted the current lack of clarity SRC: ‘Last chance saloon’ if Scotland’s DRS is to launch well in August ( and we continue to engage directly with Circularity Scotland, the scheme administrator and via the WSTA, our trade association.

The Wine Society has been vocal about the shortcomings of the scheme for some time now. We strongly believe that glass should be excluded from the scheme and instead, investment in improved kerbside collection would increase recycling rates and the quality of the glass recyclate itself. We have supported both British Glass and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association in their lobbying on this topic.

For those interested in some more background, @mrblairbowman is worth a follow on Twitter and @DanielLambert29, fresh from embarrassing the Government over post Brexit wine regulations, has turned his attention to the scheme.

We continue to prepare to ensure we keep the wine flowing to Scotland but it is going to take some very rapid action from CSL and SEPA to avoid widespread disruption in August.


Thank you so much for such a comprehensive and prompt reply, which confirms most of my worst suspicions. I do feel your pain having to deal with the clowns we have to deal with on a regular basis. SEPA couldn’t run a bath, and I don’t know about the other lot. Massively bureaucratic for little gain.
I will be passing a slightly abridged version of this to my MSP. Glad to hear that others have been shaming them too.

Or alternatively lob them at their nearest SNP/Green politician?

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Thank you for that detail. It appears even worse than I imagined. The real problem is that no one seems to know. We can only hope sanity prevails, but i sort of doubt it.

It sounds like they are so disorganised at the Scot Gov end that online retailers could probably just keep doing what they’re doing until the issues are sorted out and no one would be any the wiser…! What sanctions can they take I wonder against companies with no presence in Scotland?
My reading of it is that any purchases made prior to the August date would not be in scope, clearly the concept of Reserves and EP will be well beyond the numpties that are involved here. My view would be that if I have transacted to purchase before the due date then it’s not in scope.

Just adding to what Simon has written, we are currently dealing with more ill thought through, punitive legislation than ever before. The consequence will be businesses going under, prices going up and ranges shrinking. Irrespective of individual politics it is inconceivable that this will do anything other than inhibit consumer spending and economic growth. The deposit and return scheme is the worst example, especially when the knock on is considered for the other UK nations. England and NI have excluded glass as kerbside recycling is so good. Wales have decided glass is in and will be devising a different system to Scotland. So. three approaches to one consumer base ! In addition we have the new Duty scheme coming in August which is another bureaucratic and IT nightmare. We have Packaging recycling notices and Extended producer responsibility (just google) which combined will cost in the region of £1m for TWS - equivalent to our full year profit in many recent years. Instead of facing into the cost of living crisis and helping business to help consumers it seems as though politicians of all creeds have taken leave of their senses. For us, we will be spending this year rewriting systems and trying to get clarity on how exactly these schemes will work.


Living in Scotland feels like being under siege from a shower of hugely complex and expensive, but ultimately ineffectual policies. Minimum alcohol pricing and stopping us benefiting from multi buy discounts has made peripheral changes to the make up of alcohol sold, but done nothing for the health outcomes.

The historically good things about Scotland, such as our education and legal systems, are being left to decay whilst policies that seek to make Scotland seem different enough from the rest of Britain that it needs independence have money (and we get nearly £2k per annum more per person government funding than England) thrown at them. When so many jobs are economically zero rated it is no wonder the country is doing so poorly.

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Good that TWS and others are campaigning on this before it happens. One of the most discouraging aspects of the Brexit campaign was how silent most business was although the potential damage was obvious.

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I have now raised this with my MSP Steve, and encouraged a few friends to do likewise.

Scotland has become a nanny state, with ill thought out, ill communicated legislation, all to be different. But certainly not better. Education and health have gone way downhill, but at least we can now choose our gender on a regular basis…don’t start me!!