The chief executive of the company overseeing Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS) will take home a staggering £300,000 a year, according to reports. 

Documents leaked to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, reveal that David Harris and other executives at Circularity Scotland Ltd will receive a combined £670,000 in annual salary and fees. 


Fergus Ewing, an SNP MSP who has long been critical of the under fire scheme, told the newspaper the remuneration was outrageous and undeserved: “The public will ultimately be the payers for the costs of this scheme, including the salaries of its bosses, with the costs of beverages rising by far more than 20 pence.”

He continued: “The payments to the CEO and chair are simply outrageous because the scheme is a disaster and, unless halted, will become a certain catastrophe.

“Calls to halt the scheme are now coming from every sector of business impacted.

“Circularity Scotland has totally failed to understand how the current system of recycling works and perhaps that is because they failed to listen to – or even meet – those who know most about it. Some major players were not afforded meetings, others did not get replies to requests to meet.”

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The company is funded by industry rather than the government, and ministers say they have no involvement in the recruitment of staff or their pay levels.

The DRS - currently due to go live on August 16 - will see shoppers pay a 20p deposit when they buy a drink that comes in a single-use container.

They then get their money back when they hand the empty container over at a return point.

However, earlier this week it emerged that Circularity Scotland expects to rake in £57m a year from the public not returning their containers. 

In their business case, the company said unredeemed deposits are factored in as one of their revenue streams alongside money they will charge drinks producers each year and earnings from selling recycled drinks bottles.

When quizzed about the reports in Holyrood, the minister in charge of the scheme, Lorna Slater, told MSPs that Circularity Scotland was a “not for profit company established by industry” and that any unredeemed deposits would be “reinvested into keeping the costs of running the scheme as low as possible for producers of all sizes across Scotland.”

She said this model was in line with the best practice seen in other schemes around the world, including the scheme currently being planned by the UK Government. 

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A spokesperson for Circularity Scotland said: “This information was included in an email to all Circularity Scotland members.

“We can confirm that as a private, not-for-profit company, we communicate all senior executive salary information to our members and benchmark these against similar post in the industry.

“The deposit return scheme is one of the largest environmental infrastructure schemes ever established in the UK and the executive team have been appointed due to their unrivalled expertise in developing and implementing large-scale projects of this nature.”