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Scots say glass should be in 20p deposit return scheme

The vast majority (85%) of people in Scotland say that glass should be included in Scotland’s 20p Deposit Return Scheme, according to new figures released by Zero Waste Scotland today.

22 Aug 19

A YouGov survey commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland shows that 85% of people in Scotland say glass bottles should be in the scheme. In stark contrast, a mere 8% say it should not be included. 

Under the recycling scheme, people will pay a 20p deposit when buying drinks in a plastic or glass bottle or a metal can. They will get their money back when they return them to be recycled*.

The polling is published by Zero Waste Scotland alongside new online content for stakeholders that helps to make clear the benefits of including glass in the scheme. The materials can be accessed at www.depositreturn.scot, Zero Waste Scotland’s hub for information on Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme.

The key benefits include:

  • The scheme is expected to increase the recycling of glass bottles from around 65% at present to 90%. Including glass makes a substantial contribution to the environmental benefits of the scheme. 
  • Zero Waste Scotland calculates that the inclusion of glass in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will cut the country’s carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes CO2e over the next 25 years. This makes up nearly a third (30%) of the total anticipated carbon savings of the scheme. 
  • Glass recycled through the scheme will also provide a potential avenue for growth in Scotland’s burgeoning circular economy. At a time when governments and consumers alike are demanding higher levels of recycled content in drinks packaging, the scheme will generate 1.5 million tonnes of recycled glass for use by Scottish industry over 25 years.

Leading schemes in Germany, Finland, Denmark and Estonia successfully incorporate glass. 

 Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

 “The environmental evidence shows why Scotland is right to include glass in its deposit return scheme from day one.

“People in Scotland want glass to be included in Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme as part of ambitious action to protect our environment. The carbon emissions savings make it clear that they are right.

“Every bottle recycled rather than sent to landfill means carbon savings. At a time of a climate emergency, this is an unmissable opportunity to cut tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon.”

Mark Hazell, Founder of Jaw Brew, said:

“Glass bottles are a big part of our business – after all, it's how most people buy our beer. We want to see as much of that glass recycled as possible and the 20p deposit on glass bottles will help make that happen.

“Jaw Brew has always put the environment at the core of what we do so anything that helps make our materials more sustainable is a definite plus for us. I lived in Germany for many years so saw how successful deposit return schemes can be and it’s great that Scotland is set to introduce its own scheme.”

*About Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

The following materials are covered by the scheme:

  • PET plastic (used for most fizzy drinks and water bottles)
  • Steel and aluminium
  • Glass

All types of drinks in containers made of these materials between 50 ml and 3 litres in size are included.

The scheme is expected to reduce emissions by the equivalent of 4 million tonnes over 25 years, or an average of 160,000 tonnes of CO2e every year (news release).

Zero Waste Scotland has estimated that the scheme could reduce littering of plastic bottles by as much as 31,000 items per day across the country (news release).

For more information on Scotland’s deposit return scheme, including FAQs, visit: www.depositreturn.scot

Notes For Editors

Total sample size was 1,019 adults living in Scotland. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th - 18th July 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 18+).

The full question was:

“Currently, glass bottles are included in the scheme, alongside plastic containers and metal cans. To what extent do you think that glass bottles should or should not be included in the Scottish Government's deposit return scheme? (Please select the option that best applies)"

Responses were: Definitely should (69.51%); Probably should (15.7%); Probably should not (3.4%); Definitely should not (4.69%); Don't know (6.7%).

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