Switzerland to tax glass bottles to fund collection and recycling

The Swiss federal authorities plan to introduce a tax on disposable glass bottles, that will be used to fund their collection recycling. The country will also end its ban on PVC bottles, but require a deposit to be charged to ensure they are returned to the point of sale for separate recycling.

Some 300,000 tonnes of used glass are collected each year in Switzerland, with around 30 million Swiss Francs spent on collection and recycling. Faced with growing resistance to the cost of glass recycling, currently borne by local authorities, the Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication (DETEC) plans to charge between 4-10 centimes per bottle (or between 2-5 centimes for bottles under 0.5 litre), in order to contribute to the recycling costs.

A similar scheme is already in place for PET bottles and aluminium cans, under a voluntary agreement with industry.

PVC bottle ban lifted

For around 10 years Switzerland has banned PVC bottles, but the Government is now consulting on removing the ban and replacing it by a compulsory deposit. This is intended to ensure that PVC bottles are returned to the point of sale, where vendors would be obliged to take the bottles back and recycle them. DETEC says that this is unlikely to increase the use of PVC, as most major European bottle makers have already switched to PET, which is more economical.

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