As the representative body for the UK glass industry, we work hard with our members to increase glass recycling rates and to deliver a truly circular economy.
Part of this goal is maximising the collection of recycled glass (cullet) and supporting any initiatives that would increase glass recycling as a whole, from its current level of 67%, which is already one of the highest recycling rates of any packaging material.
We believe the best way to increase the amount of cullet that returns to manufacturers is by reforming the current Producer Responsibility model and increasing recycling targets.
The Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) claims to generate more used beverage packaging for recycling, but waste management experts argue that including glass in a DRS would actually reduce the overall amount of glass recycled and would add significant complexity and inconvenience for consumers.
Our Open Letter
As part of our ongoing campaign to ensure the best system is in place for glass recycling, we have sent an open letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham addressing our concerns about including glass in the proposed Scottish DRS.
Supporters of the letter experts from across whole glass supply chain such as the Chartered Institute for Wastes Management, the Scottish Environmental Services Association, the British Soft Drinks Association, the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, Scottish Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality Scotland and the Scottish Wholesale Association
From our partners
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said:
'We welcome this research into proposals for a Scottish Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). We believe more information and research is required to fully understand the impact of different packaging materials, how best to reduce littering and identify preferred materials for packaging long term. We urge Government not to rush with this policy but to reconsider the proposed time frame for implementation to allow the UK wide proposals for collections to come into effect, and ensure proper scrutiny and testing of a DRS.'
Glass is wholly inert and is made from naturally available materials. We are concerned that glass in a DRS will increase consumer emissions and time, increase breakages, and negatively hit the poorest in our society (WRAP research shows low income families are the least likely to return bottles and therefore likely to disproportionately fund the scheme . Glass does not create micro-plastic pollution and we believe it is the best enclosure for packaging beverages.
Until more is known about plastic pollution, and the ramifications of micro and nano-plastics on the human body and our marine environment, Government should promote glass and not threaten its use by including it in a DRS."
Adeline Farrelly, Secretary General, FEVE – The European Association for Container Glass representing over 90% of the European glass packaging industry.
Recycling DRS in Scotland, Oakdene Hollins
This report examines DRS schemes across Europe to inform the debate on the potential impact of introducing a recycling DRS in Scotland that includes glass.