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19th July 2022

Circularity Scotland announces Biffa as logistics partner for UK’s first Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland

Circularity Scotland Ltd, the not-for-profit scheme administrator for the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland, has signed an agreement with Biffa that will see the leading sustainable waste management company become the scheme’s official logistics service provider.

The Deposit Return Scheme is a fundamental part of Scotland’s efforts to move to tackle climate change and create a circular economy by reducing waste. DRS aims to ensure that at least 90% of recyclable drinks containers are captured and prevented from becoming waste.

The agreement comes after several months of close collaboration between the organisations as they progress towards DRS going live in August 2023 and is expected to create around 500 jobs in Scotland to support the collection, sorting and counting of products within scope of the scheme.

Circularity Scotland is also working with Biffa to explore the opportunity to build a PET recycling plant in Scotland to support the scheme and deliver further employment opportunities.

It marks the latest milestone in the development of the scheme, following May’s announcement that Circularity Scotland had secured £18m investment from the Scottish National Investment Bank and Bank of Scotland to support the initial set-up phase of the scheme.

The new agreement will see Biffa take responsibility for the crucial work of collecting billions of drinks bottles and cans from return points across the length and breadth of Scotland each year, as well as managing the bulking and counting centres that will process material for recycling.

From August 2023 all drinks producers and everyone selling single-use drinks containers is required to take part in the Deposit Return Scheme. A refundable 20p deposit will apply to all single-use PET plastic, aluminium, steel or glass drinks containers ranging in size from 50ml up to three-litre containers.

People will be able to return their bottles and cans to thousands of shops or hospitality across Scotland. Some venues will accept items over the counter, while larger stores, shopping centres and transport hubs will operate automatic collection points known as reverse vending machines.

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% of drinks containers made from PET plastic, aluminium, steel or glass.”

Michael Topham, Biffa Chief Executive Officer, 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.”


Notes to Editors

For more information about the Deposit Return Scheme and FAQs visit Circularity Scotland Ltd.

About CSL

Circularity Scotland was set up in 2021 with the specific purpose of administering Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). It represents a combination of drinks producers, trade associations and retailers and works with companies throughout the supply chain – from producers through to the hospitality industry, wholesalers, and retailers. It was set up with a simple mission – to make Scotland a cleaner, greener place.

Circularity Scotland was successfully approved as a Scheme Administrator by the Scottish Government in 2021 which tasked it to ensure the scheme is rolled out successfully and operates efficiently in line with the ultimate goal to recapture 90% of Scotland’s single-use drinks containers.

As well as handling the financial and logistical aspects of the scheme, it will actively help drinks producers, importers, wholesalers and retailers to understand how Circularity Scotland can support them with the introduction of the Deposit Return Scheme. The organisation will also play a part in educating the public about how the scheme will work for them and how it benefits Scotland’s economy and the environment.

About Biffa

Biffa is a sustainable leader in the UK’s waste and recycling industry. Founded in London in 1912, we employ 10,000 people and collect waste from thousands of businesses and millions of households across the UK each day.

By growing our collections business, building our plastic recycling capacity, and investing in energy-from-waste, we’re on a mission to enable the UK circular economy by changing the way businesses and people think about waste.

Our surplus food redistribution partnership with Company Shop Group, and our environmental work with BiffaAward and Waste Aid, also have wider benefits for the UK and beyond. Since 2002 we’ve reduced our carbon emissions by 70 per cent and aim to be net zero by 2050.

A great British brand, we’re a member of the FTSE 250 and listed on the London Stock Exchange. To find out more visit or find us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Press release from Circularity Scotland