Resource Use

Biffa announced as logistics partner for Scottish DRS

Today (19 July), Circularity Scotland Ltd has announced Biffa as its logistics service provider to deliver the country's Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

DRS Scotland

Set for launch in 2023, the scheme is described as a ‘fundamental part’ of Scotland’s efforts to tackle climate change and reduce waste. In full operation, it intends to capture at least 90 per cent of recyclable drinks packaging and prevent it from going to landfill.

The partnership will call upon Biffa to take responsibility for collecting returned drinks containers from return points, before managing the bulking and counting centres that will process the materials for recycling.

The scheme will require retailers and producers of single-use drinks containers – made from aluminium, steel, glass, and PET plastic – to apply a 20p deposit to their products. Customers will then be able to earn this back once returning the packaging to a designated point. Coming as either a reverse vending machine or an over the counter service, return points will be located in shops and hospitality venues across Scotland,

In addition to its contributions to Scotland’s move towards a more circular economy, 500 jobs are estimated to be created with the launch, across the sorting and packaging of products and overall support for the operation.

David Harris, CEO of Circularity Scotland, said: “The DRS scheme is a key part of Scotland’s move to a circular economy. It is one of the most significant environmental infrastructure projects ever introduced in the UK and the most comprehensive deposit return scheme anywhere in the world.

“As scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland is working at pace to ensure that the scheme runs effectively and efficiently, and at as low a cost as possible, from August 2023.

“Bringing on board Biffa as our logistics service provider is another landmark moment in this work and their unparalleled expertise in supporting large scale and complex recycling schemes will help us to achieve the aim of capturing and recycling at least 90 per cent of drinks containers made from PET plastic, aluminium, steel or glass.”

Biffa’s CEO Michael Topham, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed to provide logistics, sorting and counting services for Scotland’s landmark Deposit Return Scheme. This appointment is testament to the strength of Biffa’s reputation as a sustainable waste management provider to complex markets, our extensive capabilities and world leading recycling infrastructure.”

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

The first of its kind in the UK, Scotland’s DRS was unveiled in May 2019, before passing into law the following year. 17,000 return points were promised in the new legislation, along with a post-rollout review in 2026.

In February, after being named the scheme’s administrator, Circularity Scotland Ltd appointed Reverse Logistics Group (RLG) as its preferred implementation partner to manage its IT infrastructure.

This was followed by the announcement of a £9 million investment into the scheme by The Scottish National Investment Bank in May. The investment was partnered with an additional £9 million received from Bank of Scotland. Together, the capital aims to fund the start-up costs of the scheme administrator. 


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