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    Radnor Hills chief William Watkins elected new president of British Soft Drinks Association

    William Watkins

    Radnor Hills founder and chief executive William Watkins has been elected as the new president of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA).

    Kicking off his tenure, Watkins called on the Welsh government to help unlock the way for an interoperable Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) to support recycling.

    He was appointed at the trade body’s annual general meeting on 11 June and took over from Paul Graham, GB managing director at Britvic, who, in his time as president, led the BSDA in its role as a founder-member of Circularity Scotland Ltd, a scheme administrator for Scotland’s since-delayed deposit return scheme.

    Watkins, who has been vice president of the BSDA since 2020, said: “I am delighted to be elected as the new president of this important organisation.

    “It is such a crucial time for the industry as we head towards setting up a Deposit Return Scheme, along with retailers and alcohol producers, to deliver a realistic and practical system to return and recycle our containers in a more sustainable way.

    “I aim to continue the fine work of Paul and past BSDA presidents by making further progress on a wide range of issues affecting and involving soft drinks, particularly those related to reducing litter and increasing recycling.

    “The go-live date for DRS across the UK has been pushed back to October 2027. As it stands, the Welsh government continues to be an outlier in calling for the inclusion of glass within scope of its DRS.

    “A lack of alignment in this area would create different market conditions within Great Britain, something which carries the potential to confuse consumers and impede efforts to achieve the high collections rates of PET and aluminium beverage containers necessary to fuel the circular economy for beverage packaging.

    “I am calling on the Welsh government to reconsider its approach to help unlock the way to an interoperable DRS that benefits the environment, consumers and industry alike.”

    He added that he will be highlighting both the economic benefits the industry delivers for the country and the vast array of drinks, mainly in the low-calorie sector, that BDSA members offer.

    Pete Charles, managing director at Red Bull since 2018, has been elected to replace Watkins as vice president of the BSDA.

    The BSDA represents UK producers of soft drinks, including carbonated drinks, still and dilutable drinks, fruit juices and bottled waters. Membership includes the majority of Britain’s soft drinks manufacturers as well as franchisors, importers and suppliers to the UK soft drinks industry.

    Radnor Hills, which is Wales’ largest independent soft drinks producer, was founded by Watkins in 1990 and produces over 400 million drinks a year.

    Earlier this month, Simon Knight was appointed as the new managing director at Radnor Hills and William became chief executive.

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