AG Barr and CCEP deposit-return-scheme DRS administrator

Leading manufacturers have denied claims that they have applied to become Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) administrator.

Two industry sources told betterRetailing that an administrator is likely to be approved by the Scottish government in November after the scheme’s start date was pushed back to July 2022.

When asked which parties were looking to be part of administrator, one of the sources claimed that the Scottish Wholesale Association, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), Natural Source Waters Association (NSWA) and AG Barr had put their names forward.

Although some of the named companies denied they had put in an individual application when asked by betterRetailing, another source said there were discussions between the parties to form a joint-scheme administrator.

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CCEP and AG Barr said they were not aware that any applications for the scheme administrator role had been made yet.

A CCEP spokesperson said: “We have long supported the implementation of a well-designed DRS in Scotland and will continue to work closely with the government, trade partners and other stakeholders to make that a reality, starting with the formation of an industry-led scheme administrator.”

An AG Barr spokesperson said: “The Scottish government’s DRS regulations were passed earlier this year and it is expected that producers will take the lead in establishing a DRS scheme administrator.

“We’ve been working collaboratively with the Scottish government, Zero Waste Scotland and other stakeholders.”

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Commenting on the formation of a joint administrator, BSDA director general Gavin Partington said there were conversations between multiple trade associations, brewers, drinks distributors and retailers to form an independent, non-profit organisation.

“We look forward to playing our part in helping to increase the quantity and quality of material collected for recycling.

“Nevertheless, we continue to believe that a well-designed GB-wide deposit return scheme, in tandem with reform of the producer responsibility system for packaging, stands the best chance of achieving this goal.”

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BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “As part of this process we are liaising closely with retail bodies to ensure the scheme supports all parts of the supply chain.

“This process remains ongoing with nothing finalised at this stage.”

In July, every leading manufacturer, retailer and reverse vending machine operator refused to say whether they were applying to be scheme administrator when asked by betterRetailing.

CCEP, the NFRN, Sainsbury’s and Tomra were among 24 companies queried by betterRetailing.