The 40,000 tonnes per year capacity facility will count and bale DRS collected packaging which will then be sold for recycling.
Scotland is set to launch its DRS this August, when a refundable 20p deposit will apply to all single-use PET plastic, aluminium, steel or glass drinks containers ranging in size from 50ml to three-litres.
Work on the Porthleven site, a former engineering depot, started earlier this month, with equipment due to be installed from April. Work is expected to be completed by May ahead of the launch of DRS in August. It will become a “key DRS regional hub” once it is built, Biffa says.
Recruitment for managerial positions is now underway, with other roles advertised from March. Around 60 jobs will be created at the new Biffa facility, from multi-skilled operatives and drivers to administrators, supervisors and managers.
Gavin Money, Biffa’s DRS operations director, said: “Working closely with the scheme administrator, Circularity Scotland, we’re progressing well with the exciting and ambitious plans for the launch of DRS in Scotland, which will see new recycling infrastructure developed across the country.
“Aberdeen will play a key role as a regional collection and counting hub, handling some of the billions of plastic, glass and metal drinks containers collected each year from across Scotland.”
The other two counting centres which will form Biffa’s network will be found at Grangemouth and Motherwell.
Via the DRS, people will be able to return their bottles and cans to thousands of shops across Scotland. Some venues will accept items over the counter, while larger stores, shopping centres and transport hubs will operate automatic collection points known as reverse vending machines.
In July 2022, Biffa announced that Circularity Scotland, the scheme’s administrator, had awarded it a 10-year contract to provide logistics, sorting and counting services for the Scottish DRS (see letsrecycle.com story).
David Harris, Circularity Scotland’s chief executive, said: “The deposit return scheme will transform how Scotland recycles, preventing billions of bottles and cans each year from ending up as waste and helping protect our environment for generations to come.
“The Porthleven site will be the first of several centres across Scotland that will support local economies and play a central role in delivering this ground-breaking initiative.
“The development of the site is further evidence of the progress being made as we prepare for the scheme to go live in August.”
Circularity Scotland is also working with Biffa to “explore the opportunity to build a PET recycling plant in Scotland to support the scheme and deliver further employment opportunities”.