Biffa secures contract for UK’s first Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland

Biffa plc

Leading UK sustainable waste management company Biffa plc (LON: BIFF) confirmed today that it has been awarded a 10-year contract to provide logistics, sorting and counting services for the UK’s first Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers in Scotland.

Key highlights

·      Biffa to be logistics partner for the scheme, with responsibilities including the collection of bottles and cans from c. 30,000 locations across Scotland and the building and operation of 3 counting centres

·      C. £80m estimated capital commitment (including property lease commitments) to be deployed by August 2023

Biffa has been appointed by Circularity Scotland Ltd (CSL), the appointed scheme administrator – working on behalf of drinks producers, retailers and hospitality venues to provide the collection, counting and recycling of the billions of drinks containers which are placed on the Scottish market each year. The scheme requires highly complex operational management and Biffa’s appointment is testament to its ability to manage such a programme from collection through to recycling.

The agreement 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.

Scotland is the first UK nation to implement a DRS, with others expected to confirm plans for their own DRS schemes in due course. From 16th August 2023, a refundable 20p deposit will apply to all applicable drinks containers sold in Scotland (from small 50ml containers to large 3-litre containers). Bottles and cans can be returned to any shop or hospitality venue in Scotland that operates as a return point.

The DRS aims to capture at least 90% of the drinks containers made from PET plastic, steel, aluminium, and glass. The plastic bottles collected will be converted by Biffa into recycled pellets to be supplied back into the UK beverage supply chain, thereby delivering a closed loop recycling system.

Michael Topham, Chief Executive of Biffa plc, commented:

“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.”

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