HC Deb 12 April 1989 vol 150 cc543-4W
Dr. Cunningham

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on his Department's progress on implementing the requirements of the 1985 European Economic Community directive on beverage containers.


[holding answer 10 April 1989]: The United Kingdom programme for implementing this directive was submitted by the DTI in November 1987 following consultations with other Government Departments, local authority associations and 28 trade and industry organisations. It consisted of sub-programmes for containers made of glass, metals, plastics and paper composites and a cross-material submission on the soft drinks industry. Copies of the programme are available from the Libraries of both Houses.

The United Kingdom programme is based on voluntary agreements and in line with the Commission's assurance to the Government when the directive was adopted in June 1985, there is not discrimination between different types of container systems or between different types of packaging.

Good progress is being made in the recycling of beverage containers. There was agreement at a glass recycling commitment conference in July 1986 to double the number of bottle banks to 5,000 over the next five years, equivalent to one bottle bank per 10,000 people. Nationally we are on course to reach this target and the one per 10,000 figure has already been reached in the north of England. With more retailers agreeing to bottle banks being sited on their car parks, the amount of glass recycled is increasing rapidly and reached 275,000 tonnes in 1988.

The amount of metal recovered from cans is also increasing. "Save-a-Can" run by the can makers operates nearly 200 skips in England and Wales whilst the newly formed Aluminium Can Recycling Association hopes to have 100 recovery centres operating nationally by this summer. British Steel is encouraging local authorities to become involved in recovering steel cans from incinerated household waste and about 900 million cans a year are now being recovered this way.

A full progress report will be submitted by the Government to the Commission later this year, four years after the original programme was drawn up, and every subsequent four years thereafter.