Following the introduction of the UK government’s single-use plastic ban, new polling from environmental campaign group Nature 2030 has revealed that the majority of Welsh people (66%) want glass to be included in the Welsh deposit return scheme.

The new findings follow months of uncertainty after ministers in Whitehall appeared to force the Welsh Government to exclude glass from the proposed deposit return scheme in Wales.

The poll of 1025 adults in Wales aged 16 and over was conducted by YouGov between 25 – 29 September 2023.

The poll also revealed that 62% of Welsh adults support the introduction of a deposit return scheme in Wales.

Some 60% of Welsh adults polled also revealed they believed the scope of the scheme should be consistent across all four nations of the UK – for example, including glass bottles, aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

The background of the Welsh deposit return scheme

Whitehall sparked outrage amongst environmental campaigners last year when it revealed glass bottles would be excluded from the scheme in England and Northern Ireland. 

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The UK Government then reportedly forced the Scottish Government to withdraw glass from its scheme.

There have since been fears the UK Government might try to interfere with the Welsh deposit return scheme despite the environment being an issue that has been devolved to Cardiff Bay.

Campaigners claim that this threat to the scheme comes alongside lobbying from the glass industry in Wales to remove the material from any future scheme.

Campaigners believe an ‘all-in’ scheme with a variable deposit is key to tackling Britain’s waste crisis. 

They argue a comprehensive scheme capturing as many materials as possible will be easier for consumers to understand and is the most effective model for reducing waste.

Excluding glass from deposit return schemes in any of the four UK nations could also compromise the ability of businesses to trade effectively across national borders.

A spokesperson for Nature 2030 commented: “Environment policy in Wales is a power that lies with Senedd Cymru and the Welsh Government, not the UK Government. It is imperative the Welsh Government stands strong and includes glass in Wales’s deposit return scheme.”

The extended producer responsibility scheme is seeing similar issues across the UK. However, DEFRA recently told industry representatives at London Packaging Week that there is a commitment between the nations for interoperability.