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WSTA challenges Gove over proposed deposit return scheme

Published:  14 May, 2019

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has called on Michael Gove, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, to exclude glass from a proposed deposit return scheme (DRS) aimed at reducing the use of plastic in packaging.

In a submission to Defra this week, the WSTA argues that there are better ways to encourage recycling in England and Wales, and that the scheme could encourage producers to use more, not less, plastic in their packaging.

The new scheme could also cost consumers up to £280 million over the next five years, the WSTA warned. The DRS introduces a new 3.3p surcharge per bottle, which, taken with the 20p refundable deposit per bottle, would push the average bottle of wine up from £5.84 to £6.08, a rise of some 4%.

A renewed focus on kerbside collections would both reduce costs and lead to lower CO2 emissions, the WSTA argues.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said: “The WSTA has long argued that there is no evidence to support the inclusion of glass in the deposit return scheme. What is clear is that including glass drastically increases costs which ultimately will end up being paid for by the consumer.

“One of the major concerns is that by including glass the government would drive producers and retailers into moving away from glass and finding other solutions and actually increasing plastic pollution.

“The UK already exceeds EU recycling targets for glass and Michael Gove must question whether it would be significantly more cost-effective with greater environmental gains to exempt glass from DRS and improve kerbside collection instead.”

A similar DRS was launched earlier this month in Scotland, despite the WSTA’s strong opposition.