More than 20 organisations from across the glass packaging supply chain have written an open letter calling on the Environment Secretary to keep glass out of the proposed deposit return scheme (DRS).
Co-ordinated by representative body British Glass, the letter was sent following the launch of the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments’ joint consultation on what beverage packaging will be included.
This has been narrowed down to ‘on the go’ beverage containers, which would have limited glass, or an ‘all in’ system where all beverage containers are included.
The signatories, who include FEVE, URM and Majestic Wine, want glass to be kept as part of household collections instead.
Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass, said: “We all know more needs to be done to increase recycling, tackle litter, and move toward creating a truly circular economy for all packaging formats.
“It is in the interests of glass manufacturers to increase the amount of recycled glass remelted back into new bottles and jars on the market. The British glass industry was an early adopter of circular economy principles for these obvious reasons; it makes economic and environmental sense.
“It is vital that we use the opportunity now to get recycling right for generations to come. For glass, this means keeping the collection of food and beverage packaging in a single waste stream through improved and consistent household collections, not in a damaging DRS.”
The signatories say they are “proud” of the work their industry has done to help achieve a record of 76.5% of glass collected for recycling.
The letter says that, while the industry supports the concept of a DRS as a mechanism to increase the recovery of certain types of packaging, it does not believe it is the right solution for glass in the UK.
“It is vital that we use the opportunity now to get recycling right for generations to come”
It says international evidence suggests that including glass bottles in such a DRS scheme incentivises the use of plastic packaging, leading to an increase in the amount of single use plastics on the market.
It also notes that countries such as Wales, Norway and Sweden have shown it is possible to achieve a glass collection for recycling rate of around 90% through dedicated household and bottle bank collections.
The signatories call on the governments to keep glass as part of traditional household and bottle bank collections, which they say are set to benefit from proposals in the Environment Bill to introduce extended producer responsibility and mandate consistent recycling collections in England.
Adeline Farrelly, secretary general of FEVE, the European Container Glass Federation, said: “Our aim is to have people recycling more and better to achieve a 90% collection for recycling rate across Europe and we do not believe that a DRS is the right recycling system for glass.
“Evidence shows that, unlike improved extended producer responsibility schemes, a DRS will not maximise the quantity and quality of collected glass and could instead put the viability of existing collection and recycling systems at risk.”
British Glass DRS Open Letter 2021