deposit return scheme drs

Circularity Scotland Limited has been appointed as the new administrator to oversee operation of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it had approved the scheme administrator application of Circularity Scotland, a not-for-profit body which represents a combination of drinks producers, trade associations and retailers.

Under the scheme, consumers will pay a 20p deposit when they buy a glass bottle, can or PET plastic container. The money is then reimbursed when the empty containers are returned, contributing to a circular economy.

Circularity Scotland will work with the entire supply chain to help deliver a system that is expected to collect at least 90% of drinks containers across Scotland.

Interim director of Circularity Scotland Donald McCalman said: “The Deposit Return Scheme is a gamechanger for Scotland’s ambition to become a greener and cleaner country. It supports a circular economy and the Scottish Government’s ambitious plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2045.

“The appointment of Circularity Scotland as a Deposit Return Scheme administrator is a milestone moment – it allows us to begin delivering a world-class DRS that works for everyone. We will work closely with companies and trade associations throughout the supply chain to develop and operate a DRS system that works for all.”

According to Zero Waste Scotland research, it is predicted that 34,000 fewer plastic bottles, cans and glasses will be littered every day with the introduction of a DRS in Scotland, with £62 million a year could be saved tackling the indirect impacts of litter.

The Scottish Government also recently announced a review into the schedule for the implementation of DRS due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of Circularity Scotland’s appointment, Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “This is a significant milestone in a scheme which will improve the quality and quantity of our recycling, contribute towards our net zero targets and significantly reduce litter.

“I am grateful for the industry’s collective commitment to move ahead with the scheme, despite the pressures of COVID-19 over the past year and we look forward to working with them to make the deposit return scheme a success.”

Chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland Iain Gulland said: “This is a huge milestone and a mark of the tremendous amount of work that has been done to prepare a practical and sustainable Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland. We’re extremely pleased that Circularity Scotland will be taking the scheme forward.

“Scotland’s DRS will be an important part of our journey towards a more circular economy, challenging throwaway culture and contributing to the fight against climate change: reducing emissions by nearly 160,000 tonnes of CO2eq each year – the equivalent of taking 83,000 cars off the road.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores. “We have a unique opportunity to create a workable and effective deposit return scheme through Circularity Scotland, and the Association of Convenience Stores is committed to meeting this challenge alongside colleagues and partners from retail, the wider industry, and everyone who can unite behind this common objective.”

National president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagent Stuart Reddish said: “The appointment of Circularity Scotland as the Deposit Return Scheme administrator is the next important step in getting DRS up and running and the NFRN welcomes this news. As the first retail trade association to support the introduction of DRS in Scotland, we now look forward to working on the implementation of the scheme so that our members – news and convenience retailers across Scotland – can assist their communities by providing return points. By doing so we can all help Scotland achieve its target of a 90% return rate.”

Chief executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation Dr Pete Cheema OBE added: “As a founder member of Circularity Scotland, Scottish Grocers Federation is delighted that the company has been appointed as scheme administrator. Our industry has worked together in a remarkable way to deliver a very robust and very high-quality application to the Scottish Government. We now have an opportunity to move forward and create a world-leading scheme. Convenience stores in Scotland are absolutely central to the successful operation of the scheme. Their participation will ensure an efficient and truly Scotland-wide DRS. We look forward to working collaboratively with all our colleagues at Circularity Scotland.’’