DRS scheme administrator created

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The organisation that will be in charge of running the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland has been formed.

Drinks producers, retailers, and trade associations have joined forces to establish Circularity Scotland, a new, not-for-profit scheme administrator.

If approved by the Scottish Government, the company will seek to work with companies throughout the supply chain – producers, retailers, hospitality and wholesalers – to help deliver a scheme that is ultimately expected to collect more than 90% of drinks containers in Scotland.

Donald McCalman, Interim Director of Circularity Scotland, said: “This is an important moment in the move to deliver a Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland. We have a shared vision for a scheme that delivers truly impactful environmental benefits and contributes to a circular economy in Scotland.

“We’re confident that our not-for-profit company can help to operate a DRS system that works for everyone. The DRS will provide huge environmental benefits for Scotland and accelerate the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2045.”

DRS regulations passed by the Scottish Parliament in May 2020 paved the way for drinks producers and importers to nominate a scheme administrator to fulfil the DRS obligations on their behalf. The scheme is scheduled to go live on 1 July 2022. It will require consumers to pay a 20p deposit on each glass, can or PET plastic container purchased, which is then reimbursed when the empty container is returned.

The initial members of Circularity Scotland include Accolade Wines, Association of Convenience Stores, Barr Soft Drinks, British Beer & Pub Association, British Soft Drinks Association, Britvic, Budweiser, Coca-Cola European Partners, Co-op, Heineken, Highland Spring, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Natural Source Waters Association, NFRN, Sainsbury’s, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Wholesale Association, Suntory Beverage and Food, Tennent’s owners C&C Group and Tesco.

SGF boss Pete Cheema said the formation of the company was a “major step forward” in creating a world-leading deposit return scheme for Scotland.

Colin Smith, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wholesale Association, commented: “We look forward to working with the board representatives in implementing the UK’s first deposit return scheme and one that reflects the whole supply chain.”

Stuart Reddish, NFRN National President, hailed the creation of Circularity Scotland as an “important milestone”. He added: “Our members – news and convenience retailers across Scotland – will be working in their communities to provide return points and to help Scotland achieve its target of a 90 per cent return rate.”

James Lowman, Chief Executive of ACS, said: “We look forward to contributing to the work of Circularity Scotland to deliver an efficient deposit return scheme that works for Scottish convenience retailers and their customers. Convenience retailers will be at the centre of an effective circular economy by offering essential services like return points close to where people live and work.”