glass recycling EU environmental legislation is a prime example of Brussels “red tape” that many hope will be removed after Brexit. So hang on to your shares in Coca Cola UK, whose extensive lobbying against the EU’s planned Deposit Return Schemes has recently been exposed by Sky News. DRS are an attempt to return to times gone by, when people could collect a modest deposit for returning glass bottles to the point of purchase. Great for the environment, but terrible for the likes of Coca Cola, who’d incur a lot of cost and inconvenience shipping bottles back to their bottling plants.

Hang on though, isn’t most glass recycled these days anyway – so why do you need a DRS? The answer is, because reuse is better than recycling. In green speak, recycling is the last of the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And this is especially true of glass.

Ok, I admit glass is cool. Glass in windows, example, is great. It lasts almost forever, lets the sunshine in (passive solar heating in yet more green speak) and gives people the joy of watching the beautiful outside world from the comfort of their home. Glass can be used to make solar panels. Glass is also infinitely recyclable, whereas plastic is technically downcycled i.e. drink containers turned into carpets etc

The problem is the glass wrapped around your favourite drink. When opening a bottle of wine or any other drink, the chances are you’re more concerned about the quality of its contents than the packaging. Yet drinks bottles account for the overwhelming majority of the glass that’s recycled – which in turn uses a gargantuan amount of energy , because glass generally melts at a temperature above 1000°C, making it more energy intensive to recycle even than aluminium, which melts at 660°C.

So it’s time to start reusing glass bottles! At When in Rome, we’d obviously love you to use ours, again and again. Even for water. And we also love Milk bottles, which are used an average of 13 times before being recycled. But in reality , we need a nationwide DRS to encourage reuse, reduce litter and dave energy. Let’s hope there’s room for it even after we leave the EU. Oh, and stop drinking Coke, that’ll do you some good.


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