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Glass: Recycling

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 48358, tabled on 13 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the ability of reverse vending machines to break glass drink bottles into a natural broken state.

Answered on

21 September 2021

Our impact assessment, published alongside the second consultation on introducing a deposit return scheme, showed that the currently available reverse vending machines will be readily capable of compacting glass into suitably sized pieces for recycling. Our engagement with industry has been important in informing this assessment. The compaction can involve breaking glass bottles into 4, 5, or 6 separate parts and is to be clearly distinguished from crushing glass. The advantage of such compaction is that it substantially reduces the volume and thereby the storage and transport costs compared to whole, “soft drop”, bottles whilst still fulfilling the principles of the circular economy. It also avoids the difficulties involved with crushing glass on collection which results in material loss.

The impact assessment which accompanies the second consultation assumed that the glass collected would be of high quality and therefore able to be sent on for recycling. We are continuing to finalise the policy of the DRS and further details will be provided in a Government response which will be published in due course. This will also be accompanied by an impact assessment on the final scope and policy agreed for the scheme.