Deposit return scheme Scotland: Circularity Scotland appoints administrators in 'deeply frustrating development'

Circularity Scotland has confirmed it had appointed administrators after Scotland’s deposit return scheme was delayed until 2025

Circularity Scotland, the firm set up to manage Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS), has appointed administrators in a crippling blow to the delayed recycling initiative.

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater made the announcement to MSPs during a debate in Holyrood on Tuesday on the DRS, saying the development was a “disaster” for the firm’s 60 workers.

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The confirmation comes only days after it was reported the firm was on the brink of collapse, with staff being sent home and the board unable to confirm if workers would be paid for the month or be allowed to return to the office.

Circularity Scotland was set up to deliver Scotland's deposit return scheme. Picture: PACircularity Scotland was set up to deliver Scotland's deposit return scheme. Picture: PA
Circularity Scotland was set up to deliver Scotland's deposit return scheme. Picture: PA

Circularity Scotland is funded by various trade associations, who four days ago announced they were withdrawing their support. And it comes hours before Ms Slater survived a vote of no confidence, lodged by the Scottish Conservatives.

Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens’ environment spokesman, said the Conservatives were to blame for this latest development. This is because of a dispute between the Scottish and UK governments over the inclusion of glass, which led to the Scottish scheme being delayed until 2025.

Mr Ruskell said: “This is a significant and deeply frustrating development that will leave dozens of people looking for new jobs, undermine future investment, and erode trust in what any UK scheme might be able to achieve given it is the Tories that caused it to collapse.

“People will rightly question the role played by the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack in all of this, as well as the lack of climate leadership from his Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.”

The Scottish Conservatives countered, saying Ms Slater was to blame for Circularity Scotland going into administration.

Tory MSP Maurice Golden said: “Circularity Scotland themselves, like the UK government and other stakeholders, were absolutely clear that the scheme could have remained viable and gone ahead without glass, but instead she pulled the plug.

“The loss of jobs and the eye-watering sums invested – for which Scottish firms should be compensated – are entirely due to her stubborn and petulant decisions. No minister who has failed on such a scale can possibly command any confidence and she must now go.”

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Following this announcement, the UK Government defended its involvement in the scheme and said it was not to blame for Circularity Scotland going into administration.

A spokesman for the UK Government said: “The operation of Circularity Scotland is a matter for them and the Scottish Government. The chief executive of Circularity Scotland was categorical that the scheme remained viable on this basis and that many other successful schemes run without glass.

“But the Scottish Government decided not to proceed and instead further passed the scheme until October 2025. Delaying the Scottish scheme was entirely a decision made by the Scottish Government.”



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