Circularity Scotland collapsed with debts of £86m

According to documents, the organisation responsible for managing Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) collapsed with debts and financial obligations worth £86 million.

Circularity Scotland, the non-profit entity, which received funding from the drinks industry, went bankrupt in June due to the postponement of the Scottish DRS deadline until October 2025, in line with the rest of the UK.  

Documents from Companies House revealed that the firm’s liabilities amounted to over £86m, while assets available for “preferential” creditors are estimated at only £2.1m. The company’s collapse also resulted in 66 job losses. Despite this, the Scottish Government has stated that they do not feel responsible for compensating the drinks companies who invested in the scheme.

The largest creditor is Biffa, the company in charge of gathering and processing bottles and cans for the scheme, with a debt of £65 million.

In a brief statement, Biffa said: “We continue to review our position and have no further comment at this time.”

The next largest creditor is German firm Reverse Logistics, which is owed £5m.

According to a representative from the Scottish Government, the intervention of the UK Government at the last minute has resulted in the postponement of the launch of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme.

This decision was made due to the overwhelming feedback from businesses that have stated that they cannot prepare for a launch in March 2024.

Nonetheless, the Scottish Government appreciates the investment these businesses have made and is committed to successfully delivering the Deposit Return Scheme. The investment that has already been made can be utilised in the future.

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