Biffa confirms it is suing the Scottish government



Waste management company Biffa has confirmed it is taking legal action against the Scottish government over the losses it incurred following Scotland’s scrapped deposit return scheme.

A spokesperson for Biffa told Circular Online: “Biffa was selected by Circularity Scotland Limited (“CSL”) as the logistics partner for the delivery of the Scottish deposit return scheme and invested significant sums to support its timely and successful implementation. 

“This was done in good faith and on the expectation and understanding that the delivery of the scheme had been mandated by the Scottish government. 

“Having carefully reviewed our position with our advisors, we can confirm that we are taking legal action to seek appropriate compensation for the losses Biffa has incurred. Given the legal action, we are unable to comment any further at this time.”

The Times reported that Biffa is suing the Scottish government for £55 million over the collapsed deposit return scheme (DRS).

According to the report, Biffa has blamed Green MSP Lorna Slater, the former minister for Circular Economy, for not revealing the possibility of UK government intervention.

We can confirm that we are taking legal action to seek appropriate compensation for the losses Biffa has incurred.

The Scottish scheme was scrapped after the UK government declined a request for full exclusion from the Internal Market Act. 

This meant that Scotland could not include glass in its DRS. Following the decision, the then Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater accused the UK government of sabotage.

Biffa was the DRS’s official logistics service provider and had invested over £65 million in preparation for the scheme before it was delayed until at least October 2025.

Before the delay was announced, Biffa CEO Michael Topham told Humza Yousef that cancelling or significantly delaying the DRS would send a “seismic and detrimental signal” to businesses involved and called for the scheme to proceed without glass.

Reacting to the potential lawsuit, Ex-SNP rural affairs minister Fergus Ewing described it as “shocking” and questioned whether others would follow Biffa’s lead. 

The British Soft Drinks Association confirmed to Circular Online it was seeking compensation from the Scottish government last year.

Last year, the scheme administrator for Scotland’s DRS Circularity Scotland collapsed with debts and liabilities of over £86 million, filings revealed, putting 60 jobs at risk.

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