DRS deposit return scheme RVM reverse vending machine

Circularity Scotland has announced that waste management company Biffa will become the official logistics service provider for Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS).

DRS aims to tackle climate change and create a circular economy by reducing waste.

The scheme is planned to go 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.

The announcement follows news from May that Circularity Scotland secured £18m investment from the Scottish National Investment Bank and Bank of Scotland to support the set-up phase of the scheme.

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

David Harris, CEO of Circularity Scotland, said: “DRS 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 CEO, said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed to provide logistics, sorting and counting services for Scotland’s landmark DRS. 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.”

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