Delayed DRS must exclude glass


The Scottish government is being urged to exclude glass bottles from the Deposit Return Scheme, which has been postponed until March 2024.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, described the delay as “an overdue acknowledgement that the scheme is far from ready”.

He added: “The WSTA has long been telling the Scottish government that the scheme was in no fit state to be introduced and that significant further work is needed before a DRS programme of any kind is ready to be rolled out.

“We maintain our long-held position that the best way to increase glass recycling is to build on the existing infrastructure, rather than see glass included in any DRS scheme, to improve collection and recycling rates while at the same time encouraging the reduction of packaging material placed on the market.”

Independent wine merchant Peter Wood, a vocal opponent of the DRS in its original form, said: “Whatever the solution, it must exclude glass.”

The St Andrews Wine Co boss added: “The inclusion of it creates too many problems for fledgling craft producers, niche importers and small retailers, which is why all other DRS in the world exclude wine and spirits except where they are state controlled.”

Blair Bowman, a whisky consultant and broker who has also been fiercely critical of the DRS, said: “While I appreciate the announced delay to the DRS, it falls short of industry demands for alignment with UK-wide DRS and the exclusion of glass from the scheme.

“This 10-month delay is a temporary sticking plaster solution, not addressing the fundamental issues at hand.”

Bowman added: “We risk facing the same chaotic situation in March next year. It’s time for real action, not just postponing the problem.”

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