Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), Explained

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What is a DRS, deposit return scheme?

A Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) is an increasingly popular way to encourage communities to recycle. When you purchase a drink in a plastic bottle, you’ll be charged a small deposit. This deposit is taken as an incentive to ensure that you will return the bottle to be recycled. When you return the bottle to the recycling point, you will get that deposit will be returned to you.

How DRS works

Deposit Return Schemes have been around for some time and are widely used by 21 countries around the world to reduce waste and pollution caused by plastic (and in some cases, glass). The concept has been around for a long time and used by drinks manufacturers, publicans and retailers alike for glass bottles but as technology advances and plastic becomes an increasing problem, government are looking to DRS as a way to increase recycling rates.

The manner in which the deposit is returned to you depends on where in the world you are. In some countries, you would be expected to return your bottle (or a collection of bottles) to a designated recycling point, like a waste disposal and recycling centre. In other places, you may simply need to return bottles to a local supermarket or other retail location where drinks in bottles are sold, through a reverse vending machine (RVM).

How is Reward4Waste different?

Reward4Waste uses blockchain technology to revolutionise the DRS system by tracking every bottle and simplifying the entire process. It cannot only work with existing RVMs but can offer additional cost saving solutions that utilise the existing waste collection process. Using blockchain technology to make the process more transparent Reward4Waste eliminates fraud saving millions of pounds.

Conventional DRS Reward4Waste DRS
Bottle Identification Product bar code – common across all bottles of same product Unique code for each bottle which cannot be copied
Fraud potential Potential for label to be copied or scanned serval times Eliminated – only one redemption per bottle
Fraud prevention measures Complex RVM

Regular system checks and audits

Counting centre

Data managed with blockchain technology
Resultant fraud £100-150 million per annum (UK) – up to 2% 0%


Reward4Waste ensures that all parties concerned in the DRS process can never be short changed, that supply chain tracking and recycling statistics are transparent and accurate and makes the process of recycling easier and more rewarding for consumers.

How R4W DRS works