Glass bottles excluded from deposit refund plans

empty plastic bottles

The deposit refund plan will cover PET plastic bottles larger than 500ml, but not glass bottles.

The government’s latest plans for a deposit return scheme for beverage containers have been criticized for excluding glass bottles.

The program, which will be implemented in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2025, will cover plastic bottles and cans.

According to the proposals, supermarkets will host “reverse vending machines” where bottles are returned for money.

The government says the UK uses more than 20 billion bottles and cans each year, many of which eventually end up in landfills.

“This will provide a simple and effective system that helps people across the country reduce litter and recycle more easily, even on the go,” said Environment Minister Rebecca Pow.

Waste management is a delegated issue, but the government of Westminster, Wales and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland are working together on the plans.

Westminster has decided to remove glass bottles from the deposit refund program in the UK and Northern Ireland. He says including these complicates the plan too much and will instead be covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility scheme (in the UK and NI), which gives manufacturers targets to recycle them. This contradicts the national governments’ decision to include glass in Scotland and Wales.

“On the last hurdle, this government bottled it up and kept the glass out of the scheme,” says Megan Randles of Greenpeace UK.

“In what world is collecting glass beverage containers not an essential part of a system designed to collect beverage containers?”

Conservative MP Philip Dunne, who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, called the glass exclusion a “missed opportunity” and said he was disappointed that while he welcomed the announcement, it wouldn’t launch until 2025.

No decision has yet been made on the size of the deposit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the government is targeting 85% of the returnable beverage containers using the programme. The deposit level in Scotland is set at 20p.

The plans have been welcomed by beverage manufacturers and there will now be a period of consultation to prepare the infrastructure and change the labeling to keep the deposit refund system running smoothly.

Many countries have much higher recycling rates than the UK and have run similar programs for years. Daniel Webb, who runs Everyday Plastic, which campaigns against plastic waste, welcomed the announcement. He told the BBC this was a chance to “get away from a disposable culture and start a true circular economy”.

His organization recently conducted a large plastic packaging waste survey that involved more than 100,000 people and documented more than 6.5 million plastic waste in one week. Only 7.5% of that was plastic bottles.

“Shouldn’t the government be more ambitious about its scope, based on our evidence?” said.

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