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Deposit return scheme in Wales

Majority want Welsh Government to resist UK attempts to force exclusion of glass from deposit return scheme
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Recycling a glass bottle at council box in Wales

Around seven in 10 people in Wales want glass bottles to remain in the country’s proposed deposit return scheme, a new survey has revealed.

The poll follows suggestions the UK Government may try to force the Welsh Government to exclude the material from the scheme in Wales.

Support for a deposit return scheme

The poll revealed that 62% of Welsh adults support the introduction of a deposit return scheme in Wales.

A clear majority of Welsh adults also want the Welsh Government to press ahead with glass’s inclusion.

The poll by campaign group Nature 2030 revealed 66% of respondents want glass to remain in Wales’s deposit return scheme.

Some 60% of Welsh adults polled also revealed they believed the scope of the scheme should be consistent across all four nations of the UK – for example including glass bottles, aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

The poll of 1,025 adults in Wales aged 16 and over was conducted by YouGov 25-29 September 2023.

‘The Welsh Government has had long-standing plans to introduce a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in Wales.

‘This is where the consumer pays a deposit on a glass bottle, aluminium can, or plastic bottle which is then redeemed when the container is returned for recycling.

‘These schemes have boosted recycling rates and slashed litter in countries such as Denmark and Finland. All nations of the UK should replicate this and introduce all-in systems.

‘Environment policy in Wales is a power that lies with Senedd Cymru and the Welsh Government, not the UK Government.

‘It is imperative the Welsh Government stands strong and includes glass in Wales’s deposit return scheme.’

Nature 2030

Lobbying from the glass industry?

In the UK more than 30% of glass is not recycled.

Whitehall sparked outrage amongst environmental campaigners last year when it revealed glass bottles would be excluded from the scheme in England and Northern Ireland. 

The UK Government then forced the Scottish Government to withdraw glass from its scheme.
Now there are real fears the UK Government might try to interfere with the Welsh deposit return scheme, despite the environment being an issue that has been devolved to Cardiff Bay.

This threat to the scheme comes alongside lobbying from the glass industry in Wales to remove the material from any future scheme, campaigners claim.

Tackling our waste crisis

Campaigners believe an ‘all-in’ scheme with a variable deposit is key to tackling Britain’s waste crisis. 

They argue a comprehensive scheme capturing as many materials as possible will be easier for consumers to understand and is the most effective model for reducing waste.

Excluding glass from deposit return schemes in any of the four UK nations could compromise the ability of businesses to trade effectively across national borders.

Having different schemes across the nations of the UK with varying materials included could increase the risk of fraud, as has been demonstrated in other deposit return schemes around the world.

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