DRS administrator gets ScotGov approval

Local school kids deposit empty plastic bottles at Premier Broadway as part of a DRS trial.

CIRCULARITY Scotland Limited has been appointed as the new administrator for Scotland’s forthcoming Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

Given the green light today (24 March) by the Scottish Government, the not-for-profit body, which is made up of drinks producers, trade associations and retailers, will work with businesses throughout the supply chain – including retailers, wholesalers, producers and hospitality – to implement Scotland’s deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

The scheme, which is scheduled to launch on 1 July 2022, will see a 20p charge applied to any glass bottle, can or PET plastic drinks container between 50ml and 3L.

Circularity Scotland Limited’s members include AG Barr, Highland Spring, Coca-Cola European Partners, Britivic, C&C Group, Heineken UK and Budweiser Brewing Group.

Trade association members include the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF), Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN), Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), and the Scottish Wholesale Association.

A raft of supermarket retailers including Co-op, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Marks and Spencer are also members of the scheme administrator.

Donald McCalman, interim director of Circularity Scotland, 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.”

Pete Cheema, chief executive of the SGF, said convenience stores are “central” to the smooth running of deposit return. He said: “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.’’

Stuart Reddish, national president of the NFRN, 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.”

Andrea Pozzi, chief operating officer, Tennent’s owner C&C Group, said the decision was a “key milestone” for the scheme. He said: “We welcome the confirmation of the appointment of Circularity Scotland as the System Administrator to deliver Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme, this is a key milestone in the introduction of the scheme. There is still a significant amount of work to be done to deliver a world-class DRS that supports Scotland’s circular economy ambitions and target of being carbon neutral by 2045 and we look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to make this happen.”

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said: “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.”