Glass should not be included in Scottish DRS, says trade body

British Glass, the trade body for the UK glass industry, has written an open letter to the Scottish Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, raising concerns about the inclusion of glass in Scotland’s deposit return scheme (DRS).

The Scottish Government revealed its plans for the DRS in May, proposing that the scheme will set a 20 pence deposit on all containers above 50 millilitres and up to three litres in size made from aluminium and steel, glass or PET plastic. This is known as an ‘all-in’ system, which is the form preferred by former UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove for England’s proposed DRS.

British Glass, however, has stated that glass should not be included in Scotland’s DRS, suggesting that the inclusion of glass will be counterproductive to the achievement of Scotland’s environmental ambitions and impact negatively on glass recycling.

The letter, published yesterday (28 August), highlights that glass – which is 100 per cent recyclable – is currently widely recycled in the UK, with 67 per cent of all glass bottles and jars being collected for recycling. The letter suggests that the inclusion of glass in the new DRS will disrupt the success of the current system, as the use of two different recycling systems will lead to consumer confusion.

British Glass also raises concerns about the additional cost of including glass in the DRS, due to its heavy weight and low value. According to the letter, Zero Waste Scotland has calculated that the inclusion of glass will increase the total cost of the DRS by around £25 million (€27.6 million) per year, whilst recent British Glass research has suggested that the additional costs could be around two to three times this figure.

The letter also states that the inclusion of glass in the DRS will cause disruption to the glass industry, as increased costs will reduce demand for glass containers.