Scotland was due to introduce a deposit scheme to reduce its low rate of recycling this year, but this has had to be postponed until 2024. The UK's Westminster government proposes to launch a similar scheme in 2025, but that excludes glass. An initiative, backed by the London Wine Trade Fair is attempting to clarify the range of glass wine bottles in use - and the proportion that are being reused.
The topic of glass recycling is at the heart of quite different discussions in two parts of the UK. In Scotland, Humza Yousaf, the recently elected leader of the ruling Scottish Nationalist Party has announced a delay until March 1, 2024 of the introduction of a Deposit and Return Scheme (DRS) due to come into effect this year.
The scheme, which was originally scheduled for 2021, was modelled on ones already being used in Germany, Finland and Norway, with a £0.20 ($0.25) fee being refunded per container, irrespective of the material from which it is made.
There were, however two problems. First, wine traders and small retailers in particular complained that the implementation of the scheme had been poorly conceived. Second, and possibly more significantly there was the soft border between Scotland and the rest of the UK where a scheme is scheduled to be launched in 2025 that excludes glass. This is despite glass bottles being responsible for 30% of the wine’s carbon footprint, and the single biggest source of emissions in the wine supply chain.
Glass bottles are responsible for 30% of the wine’s carbon footprint, they are the single biggest source of emissions in the wine supply chain.
Bottle Collection Campaign in London
Recognising the role of glass in CO2 generation, this year’s London Wine Fair (LWF) has decided to focus on the topic of recycling wine bottles. To this end, the fair has started a joint initiative with The Porto Protocol and the refillable-bottle specialists, Sustainable Wine Solutions (SWS) and launched the LWF23 Bottle Collection campaign. The aim is to clarify how many different types of wine bottles are actually in use, whether bottles are being reused (so far) and why.
The long-term goal is to optimise the production of glass in order to reduce the associated carbon emissions, as well as to promote the reuse of wine bottles. Muriel Chatel, managing director of SWS explains, "We believe all bottles should be reusable, but if we want to make a difference, we first need to know what we are dealing with."
So, during the three-day fair in London from 15-17 May, it is expected that 30,000 bottles will be collected. These will be categorised by type, label and country of origin and the results published in a comprehensive documentary. This annual report will serve as a reference for future steps towards more reusable wine.