Jim Higgins, MEP for Ireland North West, has called for the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to consider introducing a new system in conjunction with the major bottlers which would see consumers get 10 cents back for every glass bottle they return to the supermarket.
“Re-using a bottle is far better for the environment than putting it in a bottle bank. In many instances if bottling companies put the necessary infrastructure in place, a bottle could be used 10 times over without any difficulty. Bottles collected from pubs are often reused in this way,” said the North West MEP.
A similar scheme operates in Denmark, where all cans, glass bottles, and in some cases plastic bottles come under a deposit scheme. “Such schemes reward those people who make the effort to bring back their bottles to the supermarket. In the process we also ensure that these bottles do not end up as litter on the street.”
Asked if such a scheme would contravene EU competition rules, Mr Higgins said: “I have checked this out with the EU Commission. As long as the scheme applies to all operators in a fair manner in the market, then there are no difficulties.”