Recycling cost

Failed deposit return scheme left £86m bill

DRS collection point at Aldi - deposit return
Work on the DRS had to be abandoned (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s failed deposit return scheme collapsed owing creditors more than £86 million, according to documents.

Circularity Scotland entered administration last month after the controversial recycling initiative was shelved by Green party minister Lorna Slater until at least 2025.

Now taxpayers are likely to be on the hook for millions of pounds as documents lodged with Companies House reveal the true cost of the debacle.

They show company set up to administer the scheme had assts of just £2 million but debts and liabilities of £86.2 million.

This includes £65m due to German waste management firm Biffa which would have been responsible for collecting and recycling bottles and cans.

The British Soft Drinks Association is owed more than £3m and firms behind drinks brands such as AG Barr, Tennent’s, Coors, Carlsberg, Heineken, Lucozade, Ribena and Highland Spring are also awaiting settlement alongside supermarkets and convenience stores.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that more than 40 former employees of Circularity Scotland are launching a compensation claim after losing their jobs.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government’s eleventh hour intervention has left us no choice but to postpone the launch of the deposit return scheme.

“We are grateful to businesses for the investment made. The Scottish Government remains committed to the delivery of a successful scheme and the investment made to date can be utilised in the future.

“We do not consider the action we have been required to take gives rise to any obligation to pay compensation.”

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