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Glass RecyclingIndustry News

Deposit Return Scheme Announced for Glass Bottles

In March this year, the government announced plans for a deposit scheme for bottles and cans. While details have yet to be finalised, the scheme will cover all single-use drinks containers – glass and plastic bottles, as well as steel and aluminium cans. It is expected to incentivise customers to recycle by offering a small amount of cash in exchange for the return of bottles and cans.

Glass Bottle Recycling

What impact will the scheme have?

The scheme is likely to have a big impact on the recycling rate. At present, only about 50% of glass bottles and jars in the UK are recycled. That figure has been growing – in fact, it doubled in the last five years – but there’s a long way to go before the UK catches up with other countries. In Finland, for example, over 90% of glass is recycled. It is one of the 40 countries in which a deposit return scheme currently operates, and the Finns receive a small cash incentive (approximately 9p) for each glass bottle returned. 21 US states also have some

kind of scheme in place.

How will the scheme work?

Different countries and states put their own spin on schemes. In some places, customers can return their bottles and cans straight to the

shops, while in others, specific collection points have been set up. When the scheme is created, the prices of products generally increase slightly, but customers can get their money back when they return the

bottles and cans. The UK actually had a deposit scheme for glass bottles back in the 1960s and 1970s, but the rising popularity of plastic ended it.

While environmental attention is often focused on the harms posed by plastic, it’s just as important to consider glass. Although it has been largely overtaken in popularity by plastic, it offers a number of advantages – not least the fact that it is 100% recyclable. This has led to a resurgence of products which once had glass packaging but were replaced by cheaper plastic – most recently, the glass milk bottle. As detailed in one of our posts, a shift in attitude towards eco-friendly alternatives has meant that glass milk bottles have regained popularity in a bid to minimise plastic waste.

While environmental attention is often focused on the harms posed by plastic, it’s just as important to consider glass. Although it has been largely overtaken in popularity by plastic, it offers a number of advantages – not least the fact that it is 100% recyclable. This has led to a resurgence of products which once had glass packaging but were replaced by cheaper plastic – most recently, the glass milk bottle. As detailed in one of our posts, a shift in attitude towards eco-friendly alternatives has meant that glass milk bottles have regained popularity in a bid to minimise plastic waste.

In some cases, if the glass is of poor quality, it may still be used in the production of bricks, providing a further benefit. Furthermore, the recycling process uses far less energy than creating new glass from scratch. In other words, there are huge environmental benefits to reusing this versatile product.

What does the future hold?

It might be hard to predict how successful the UK’s deposit return scheme will be, as different countries report varying results, particularly when it comes to levels of littering. However, it is sure to have some kind of positive impact on the rate of recycling, and, therefore, offer a useful way to help the environment and pick up a bit of spare change at the same time.

At Stevenage Glass, we are dedicated to helping protect the environment by providing an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. As GGF founding members we have dedicated over 50 years to our craft, and are always looking to improve the way we work to help benefit our customers, as well as the wider society. To find out more about any of our glass products and services, simply get in touch with our highly experienced team today.

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