WASTE management company Biffa has been given a 10-year contract to handle the logistics of Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) when it begins next year.

When implemented, the DRS will see shoppers pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks in cans and bottles, with the money returned to them when they return the empty containers for recycling.

The launch of the scheme was delayed to August 2023, after a review found the July 2022 deadline was not feasible.

A non-profit company called Circularity Scotland will administer the Scottish Government scheme, with Biffa contracted to be its logistics partner.

Biffa will handle the collection of bottles and cans from about 30,000 locations around Scotland as well as building three new sorting centres.

The company said about £80 million had been committed to the DRS, including through property leasing.

Around 500 jobs are expected to be created by the scheme.

The National:

Michael Topham (above), chief executive officer at Biffa, 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.”

David Harris, chief executive officer at 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.”

Opposition MSPs have voiced concerns about Circularity Scotland being a private limited company rather than a public body, saying ministers were not in charge of it.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said there will be planned “milestones” for the DRS, saying that the industry would lead on the scheme based on the “polluter pays” principle.