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30 August 2019

SWA is co-signatory on British Glass letter

The Scotch Whisky Association has signed up to the open British Glass letter to underline sustainability concerns around the proposed Deposit Return Scheme.

The Scotch Whisky industry is fully committed to a range of ambitious environmental targets. Since our sector leading environmental strategy was launched in 2009, a number of large investments have been made to identify innovative ways to reduce packaging, provide renewable energy and reduce water use. We are committed to continuing this work.

The SWA is in discussions with the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland with regard to the proposed Deposit Return Scheme and we are part of the Scottish Government’s Implementation Advisory Group. The Scotch Whisky industry fully supports the aim of the scheme to reduce litter and increase recycling rates.

Concern is growing though about Scotland’s future recycling rates for glass as the scheme may have the unintended consequence of reducing the amount of good quality recycled clear glass.

The majority of our Scotch Whisky bottles are made of clear glass. The industry is determined to increase the levels of recycled glass which is found in our bottles. In order to do so, Scotland will need to increase both the volumes and quality of clear glass being recycled and returned to Scotland’s glass companies so they can be recycled back into quality bottles.

It is important to get assurances that the recycling levels for all glass, and in particular clear glass, will increase under a DRS scheme before it is introduced. If, by including glass within the scheme, it results in a reduction of availability, it will create a barrier in delivering our sustainability targets set by Scotch Whisky companies and the Scottish Government’s own ambitions for a circular economy and transitioning to net zero.

Unintended consequences for businesses need to be understood and considered. The introduction of the initiative must be based on strong evidence and delivered through partnership with businesses so a successful road map for delivery is created. The Scotch Whisky Association signed up to the open British Glass letter to underline these sustainability concerns.

More information on the Scotch Whisky industry’s Environmental Strategy is available here.

Read the full open letter on the British Glass website here.