Viridor and TOMRA bid for Scottish DRS contract

Waste management specialist Viridor has teamed up with recycling infrastructure company TOMRA to bid for the design, build and operation of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS), which is set to launch in July 2022.

deposit-return scheme imageThe bid also includes the operation of the DRS counting and sorting centres, which Viridor has said represents ‘a critical part of the infrastructure required to underpin the efficient and accurate function of the DRS’.

Plans for Scotland’s DRS, which were approved in May 2020, will see consumers pay an extra 20p for drinks in a single-use container, which they will get back when they return the empty bottle or can to one of over 17,000 return points to be installed across the country.

The Scottish Government has said it hopes the system will collect at least 90 per cent of drinks containers across Scotland.

Research from Zero Waste Scotland has predicted that 34,000 fewer plastic bottles, cans and glasses will be littered every day once a DRS is fully implemented in Scotland, which could save up to £62 million in funds currently used to tackle the indirect impacts of litter.

The UK Government has pledged commitment to a similar DRS in England and Wales, although plans have recently been pushed back until at least 2024 following an initial enquiry.

Commenting on the partnership with TOMRA, Viridor Director of Business Development (Polymers) Luke Burgess said: “Viridor has a long history of investing in Scottish recycling infrastructure and the DRS offers the opportunity to supplement that investment and contribute to green job creation and the development of a truly circular economy.

“We are delighted to build on our relationship with TOMRA, the world leader in the provision of equipment for deposit return schemes, to work with Scotland to develop a smooth transition to a sustainable future.

TOMRA is based in Norway, a country that now boasts a recycling rate of 95 per cent for drinks bottles following the implementation of its own DRS.

The company specialises in providing recycling infrastructure solutions and says it currently operates across more than 80 global markets.

TOMRA Collection Solutions UK and Ireland Managing Director Truls Haug said: “The TOMRA Viridor partnership is formed under the shared vision to facilitate a modern, cost-effective and best practice Scottish deposit return system, acting as a catalyst for sustainable recycling outcomes, delivering key sorting and counting centre services to the deposit operator.”

“Our partnership forms a unique and complementary mix of global and UK-based experience, enabling a compelling ‘fit-for-purpose’ service offer – which if accepted could be deployed in due time for scheme commencement. We are inspired by the progress made to date and the opportunity ahead of us.”