Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS)

A new approach to DRS made possible by the latest developments in serialisation and data technologies.

How does a DDRS work?

Today, all drinks containers of a certain product (sku) that are sold have the same barcode. In a DDRS each individual container will carry a unique code. This is known as serialisation.

The unique codes typically will be in the form of 2D data matrix or QR codes. These are smaller than a barcode, but allow trillions of combinations.

Once the code is used to redeem the deposit, that code is de-activated and so no container can be used fraudulently more than once to redeem a deposit.

Why a DDRS?

DDRS is being developed to supersede conventional DRS in those countries yet to implement their DRS. But it also will enhance the system in those countries that already have a functioning DRS:

No Fraud

Because a container can only be used once to redeem the deposit, fraud is eliminated. It also eliminates potential fraud across country borders by tracking the location of every single container. This represents a massive advancement in the operability of a return scheme.

Investment Flexibility

While RVM's will remain a critical element of the DDRS return infrastructure, DDRS enables the collection infrastructure to be extended to include other return solutions such as smart bins.

Precise Traceability

DDRS enables every container to be tracked from manufacture, through the retail supply chain, to disposal. Consumers, producers, retailers and regulators will have total transparency on the product history and other useful information.

Blockchain Technology

Producing a specific code for each drink container brings its own challenges: billions of drinks are sold every year!

Adopting the blockchain technology for a DDRS makes the entire scheme watertight: billions of combinations are available, they are linked in a chain, they are individually neutralised upon return.

What are the challenges?


New digital coding equipment will need to be implemented across the beverage industry and new processes adopted.

Collection Infrastructure

New technology is being developed to ensure the quality of collected material continues to meet the needs of the recycling industry.


The concept of DDRS has been proven. Trials are now planned to validate the solution in the real world, after which full scale pilots will be implemented across multiple countries.

Are RVM's needed in a DDRS?


The RVM will continue to provide a solution to take back containers in retail stores and other high traffic areas, guaranteeing the quality of collected material.

However, DDRS offers an opportunity to simplify RVM functionality and reduce cost – likely to lead to more lower price units on the market.

Additionally, new return solutions will be developed, such as smart bin solutions.
DDRS means that a broader range of tailored take-back solutions will be offered compared to the RVM offer of today.

What is a Smart Bin?

DDRS uses the serialisation codes to ensure each container only gets redeemed once. Removing the fraud management functionality means RVM’s can be simplified. The ultimate simplification means that return solutions can be developed with minimal functionality and cost – somewhere between an RVM of today and just a bin! These are termed ‘smart bins’.

A simplified RVM to collect containers and read the unique code.
Easier to locate in more locations (such as a beach, railway platform or park).
Requires power or basic functionality (which may be solar).
Internet connected to enable code validation.
Some RVM functionality needed e.g. to ensure that the container is actually inserted.
Signals when the bin is full and needs emptying.