The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has issued a qualified welcome to the government’s proposed deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.

Under the Defra scheme, a deposit would be added to the price of drinks bought in both plastic and glass bottles and in cans. The deposit would then be refunded when consumers returned the empty containers to a designated return point.

Consultation on the scheme, which is designed to increase recycling and reduce littering, began yesterday.

In response, Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, praised the government’s commitment to tackling waste and improving recycling.

But Beale cautioned against the inclusion of glass in the scheme. “Glass must be treated differently to plastic,” he said. “It cannot be compacted safely and efficiently, unlike plastic, and broken glass is much more likely to cause injury. 

“Following years of investment in recycling, councils across the UK already have well-established, trusted and efficient doorstep-recycling schemes.

“Changes to this system, which could instead see consumers themselves burdened with returning glass bottles to point of purchase, are unnecessary. Changes would also pose storage issues for retailers, especially SMEs.”

The proposals, as currently framed, could actually prove a retrograde step, Beale added. 

Including glass in any DRS system would serve only to undermine existing recycling schemes, and would be highly likely to undermine achievements to date,” he said.

The consultation closes on May 13, 2019. For more information, visit