£9m investment

SNIB backs body behind deposit return scheme

Bottle return
Retailers will form the backbone of bottle recycling

The Scottish National Investment Bank has injected £9m into Circularity Scotland, the body set up to administer the country’s deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.

The investment by SNIB was crucial to securing an additional £9m capital from the Bank of Scotland.

The funds raised will support the start-up costs of the administrator for Scotland’s DRS to help households to return empty, single-use containers for collection for recycling.

The investment has been welcomed by trade body the Federation of Independent Retailers.

National president Narinder Randhawa said: “This investment is a show of confidence in and support for all the work being done to deliver the anticipated increase in recycling rates from August next year.

“As responsible retailers, our members in Scotland will be on the frontline of the deposit return scheme.

“Unless exempted, they will form the backbone of the network of return points, where customers will bring their bottles and cans for the refund of the deposits.”

Randhawa added that the Federation was the first retail trade association to support the introduction of DRS and is a member of Circularity Scotland.

This is intended to help tackle climate change, increase quantity and quality of materials collected for recycling, and decrease litter, supporting a ‘circular economy’.

Mark Munro, executive director of sustainable investment at the Scottish National Investment Bank said: “We are pleased to be able to support the roll out of the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland by investing in Circularity Scotland. Increasing recycling rates is a vital component in Scotland’s transition to net zero, one of the Bank’s key missions.”

Associate director at Bank of Scotland Scott Joyce said: “Addressing the sustainability challenges the country faces requires collaboration from within the financing ecosystem.

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“So, we were keen to be able to work with the Scottish National Investment Bank on this funding arrangement and ensure Circularity Scotland Limited has the support needed to make a success of its recycling initiatives. We look forward to seeing the scheme go from strength to strength.”

David Harris, chief executive at Circularity Scotland, added: “We are delighted to be working with Scottish National Investment Bank and Bank of Scotland. Their investments alongside those already received from industry will support our work in providing Scotland with the most comprehensive and efficient Deposit Return Scheme in the world.

“We are committed to being a highly effective and efficient scheme administrator creating exciting employment opportunities and this funding makes that possible.”

Under the scheme, consumers pay a deposit of 20p when they buy a drink in a single-use plastic, glass, steel or aluminium container. The deposit will be given back when they return the container to designated return points. Hospitality businesses and retailers will also return bottles and cans for recycling.

However, the scheme – which is being delivered by the Scottish Greens’ circular economy minister, Lorna Slater – has suffered a number of delays.

UKHospitality Scotland said businesses remain in the dark about key elements of how the scheme will operate, and how much it will cost firms in staff time and investment in secure storage for empty containers.


The group also raised concerns that the Scottish scheme was diverging too far from the way in which a similar scheme will operate in England.

Hospitality firms are frustrated that glass has been included in Scotland’s deposit scheme but excluded from the English and Northern Ireland versions due to concerns over the cost, safety, and the weight, of handling the material. The deposit scheme in Wales will also include glass.

Leon Thompson, executive director at UKHospitality Scotland, said: “It would make more sense if there was one UK-wide scheme.

“In addition, the Scottish government is now launching an advisory group to look at imposing a charge on single-use cups.

“Our sector wants to keep playing its part in delivering sustainability, but this almost endless round of environmental initiatives is putting additional pressure on businesses.”

Comment: Why is SNIB investing in a government-supported bottle recycling scheme?

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