Drinks bodies join forces to establish Circularity Scotland, new administrator to operate Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS)

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail


Drinks producers, retailers, and trade associations have joined forces to establish Circularity Scotland Limited, a new, not-for-profit scheme administrator seeking to operate Scotland’s proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

The Scottish Government plans to introduce the Deposit Return Scheme in 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.

Circularity Scotland is being founded by a combination of companies and trade associations representing their broader drinks producer and retail members. 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 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. In 2017, the Scottish Government first announced its ambition to introduce a deposit return scheme in Scotland to increase recycling rates and reduce litter.

Further comments from initial members of Circularity Scotland are as follows:

Drinks producers

Roger White, AG Barr chief executive, said: “Over the past year we have worked closely with fellow drinks producers in Scotland, along with other key stakeholders, to reach this important point. A correctly designed and effectively operated DRS scheme in Scotland can deliver the improvements to recycling and littering that we all seek.”

Andrea Pozzi, chief operating Oofficer at C&C Group plc (owners of Tennent Caledonian), said: “Tennent Caledonian supports the Scottish Government’s aims around increased recycling, quality of recycling and reductions in littering that would result from the introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). As Founding Members of Circularity Scotland, we are 100% committed to work with partners and all stakeholders to create an efficient, well-designed DRS for Scotland that delivers these recycling and litter objectives and supports the country’s ambitions for a more circular economy.”

Timiko Cranwell, legal and corporate affairs director at Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I, said: “We take our commitment to sustainability seriously and have welcomed the opportunity to work with other producers and stakeholders in shaping the first deposit return scheme of its kind in the UK. The scheme offers a unique opportunity to change the way in which we recycle and, in doing so, have a real and substantial impact not just on litter levels but upon the wider environment. We are proud to stand among the founding members.”

James Crampton, corporate affairs director at Heineken UK, said: “As one of the leading consumer goods companies operating at scale in Scotland, we’re acutely aware of the huge opportunity and responsibility we have to help shape the way we all recycle. As founding members of Scotland’s deposit return scheme administrator, we can work alongside other producers, retailers and the Scottish Government to help positively shift all our behaviours for the benefit of the planet.”

Michelle Norman, sustainability director at Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I, said: “Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I looks forward to playing an active role in Circularity Scotland Limited as we move from a linear to a circular economy. This will be pioneering work across Scotland and will create wide-ranging benefits for the environment, not least reducing litter and the carbon footprint of packaging production. If we collaborate effectively with consumers, industry and government we will be setting out a roadmap for other countries within the UK and Ireland to follow for a shared sustainable future.”

Caroline Thompson-Hill, managing director at Accolade Wines, said: “As one of the largest wine companies globally, it’s important we play our part to support sustainability across the industry and encourage Scottish consumers to recycle their cans and bottles wherever possible, including via the new Deposit Return Scheme. We congratulate the Scottish Government for its ongoing commitment to work with the beverage industry on the DRS to ensure it is successful and sustainable, and works for consumers and industry players from the outset. While there’s still a significant amount of work to do to get the scheme up and running, the community and the environment stand to benefit most from the DRS. It will be particularly important to work on a standardised system for container recycling in the coming months and years.”

Tom Fiennes, commercial sustainability director for Great Britain at Britvic, said: “Britvic is proud to join Circularity Scotland as a founding member and stand alongside the producers and retailers supporting Scotland’s deposit return scheme. We have long believed in a well-designed, industry-led and not-for-profit scheme, and are looking forward to working with Circularity Scotland to make this a reality. A sustainable future is possible for everyone, but it requires us as an industry to work with customers and governments to share our expertise. We want to see a world where great packaging never becomes waste and this scheme is part of making our vision a reality. The scheme will increase the quantity and quality of packaging collected for recycling in Scotland, and what we learn will be invaluable in the long-term as we push to create better environmental outcomes right across Great Britain.”

Les Montgomery, chief executive of Highland Spring Group, said: “We are proud to be a founder member of Circularity Scotland and are looking forward to working collaboratively with other members to deliver the best possible system for Scotland. We are committed to ensuring the Scheme operates as efficiently and effectively as possible, delivers key environmental benefits, and makes a positive contribution to the circular economy in Scotland.”

Stephen Moorhouse, general manager Coca Cola European Partners, said: “As a Founding Member of Circularity Scotland, we welcome this important moment in the formation of a Scheme Administrator for DRS in Scotland. We have long advocated the positive role that a well-designed DRS can play in boosting recycling and tackling litter and we look forward to working with Scottish Government and all stakeholders in making this a reality.”

Trade Associations

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “BBPA is proud to be a founder member of Circularity Scotland. Our members include major UK brewers such as Molson Coors and Carlsberg Marston’s, through to smaller Scottish brewers such at Harviestoun and Broughton Ales as well as the likes of Greene King/Belhaven and Innis & Gunn who both brew beer and operate pubs in Scotland. All our members are committed to reducing their environmental footprint and delivering a successful Deposit Return System in Scotland. We have closely worked with our members, the major drinks producers, fellow trade bodies, retailers and key components of the supply chain to develop Circulatory Scotland. We strongly believe it can deliver a successful Deposit Return System for brewers, pubs and the wider industry.”

Dr Marnie Millard OBE, president of the BSDA, said: “The BSDA is proud to be a founding member of Circularity Scotland as the soft drinks industry continues to play a leading role in developing a well-designed DRS system in Scotland that works for consumers and businesses. The last year has clearly been challenging for many of us but we and our members remain committed to changes that can help increase recycling levels and reduce littering.”

Stuart Reddish, NFRN national president, said: “As the first retail trade association to support the introduction of DRS in Scotland, we are delighted that we have reached this important milestone in the introduction of a scheme. 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.”

Pete Cheema, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation, said: “Scottish Grocers Federation is delighted to become a founder member of Circularity Scotland. The formation of the company is a major step forward in creating a world-leading deposit return scheme for Scotland.’’

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.”

Colin Smith, chief executive of the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “Scottish Wholesale Association are pleased to be joining as founding members of Circularity Scotland Ltd. Representing our members as both producers, as well as the physical ‘wheels’ that help distribute the beverage containers the length and breadth of Scotland. We look forwarding to working with the board representatives in implementing the UK’s first deposit return scheme and one that reflects the whole supply chain.”

Retail and wholesale

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “Morrisons is delighted to support the creation of a groundbreaking organisation that will collect and recycle drinks containers sold in Scotland. Managing resources in an effective circular system is fundamental to protecting our environment and tackling the climate crisis.”

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said: “We are pleased to see the formation of a Scheme Administrator and look forward to learning more about how the Deposit Return Scheme will operate in Scotland.”

Judith Batchelar, director of CR&S and public affairs at Sainsbury’s, said: “Sainsbury’s is proud to be a founding member of Circularity Scotland. We’ve been trialling the DRS scheme in our stores since 2019 as part of our drive to cut plastic through removing, reusing, replacing and recycling. The DRS system in Scotland not only supports a circular economy but also helps provide our customers with another easy way to recycle at our stores. It is a truly positive step towards our shared vision to protect the environment now and for generations to come.”

Martina Petrovic, head of communications and CSR at Lidl GB, said: “At Lidl GB, we are committed to eliminating plastic waste and believe Scotland’s DRS system will play an important role in tackling this issue and protecting the environment for the future. Establishing the Scottish Scheme Administrator is a significant milestone moment and as one of its founders, we are looking forward to using our extensive experience of developing successful DRS systems in other European countries to ensure an effective scheme is rolled out in Scotland.”

Iain Ferguson, environment manager Co-op, said: “We are very supportive of a deposit return system which will directly increase recycling and reduce littering and are delighted to help its implementation throughout Scotland. Circularity Scotland will be absolutely key to making the system a success.”

Tony McElroy, Tesco’s head of packaging and food waste campaigns, said: “Tesco believes a viable DRS scheme can play an important part in making it easier for customers to recycle, and we are pleased to play our part in helping develop this. Our trials of DRS have gone well as we work to remove and reduce plastic, reuse more packaging and make sure everything we do use can be recycled.”

In addition, the Natural Source Waters Association, who were heavily involved in the creation of Circularity Scotland, said: “The Natural Source Waters Association has been working closely with our members, other trade associations, drinks producers and retailers for over a year to help create Circularity Scotland, whose ambition is to deliver a successful Deposit Return Scheme for Scotland. All of our members use recycled materials in their bottles, up to 100% in some cases already, and want to use more. A well-designed Deposit Return Scheme will enable this by supporting the creation of a circular economy and reducing the environmental impact of plastic packaging.”