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Wednesday 17 July 2024

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Wednesday 17 July 2024

automatic translation

    Why go back to talking about the security deposit for glass?

    The geopolitical situation heavily interferes with the serenity and productivity of the hollow glass sector. We have already reported the cry of alarm launched by the supply chain: products packaged in glass are scarce and the packaging sector is shaking.
    How can this trend be reversed? Why is it necessary to go back to discussing glass security deposit systems seriously?

    The national hollow glass sector stands out

    Let's start with a brief excursus on the supply chain. Each year, in Italy, 39 factories produce approximately five million tons of hollow glass, for a total of ten billion containers. A turnover of around two and a half billion euros. And in the last two years our nation has established itself as the European leader in terms of the quantity of jars and bottles produced. 

    The risk of importation

    Despite these considerable results, Italy is among the first countries of the Old Continent to import glass. We buy them one million tons. The imported glass comes mainly from Turkey, Portugal, Germany and Ukraine, where some important glass factories are present. But precisely in Ukraine, three ovens were bombed and one was shut down as a precaution. 
    This dependence, combined with the lack of glass and raw materials, the simultaneous increase in demand and the rise in the cost of fuel and transport, has generated a worrying short circuit.


    Currently, beverage companies do not have glass available or in any case it is heavily restricted, also disadvantaged by the increase in prices, close to 30%
    This will result in an increase of 20-25% in the cost of the bottle on the shelf for the final consumer.
    This situation seems almost absurd if we consider that glass is an infinitely recyclable and reusable product. And it is to remedy it that the security deposit system (re) comes into play.

    What is the glass security deposit system?

    Our more mature readers will perhaps have a déjà-vu hearing about the security deposit or returnable for glass. But it is appropriate to make a premise for those who do not know this method, which has had a great success in European countries, but an unjustifiable decline in Italy.
    The security deposit provides that a cost (deposit) is applied to the purchase of the container, which can be redeemed, i.e. returned, to the consumer once the container is returned. 
    This solution would help to further improve glass collection, limiting the quantity of dispersed bottles (in Italy every year there are 700 million).

    security deposit
    Graph relating to the functioning of the Security Deposit System (Source: good return. it)

    The Lithuanian example

    Aiming on the security deposit also means maximize the circularity of the glass supply chain, freeing itself, for a corresponding portion, of the need for imports from abroad.
    The security deposit system now operates in ten European countries, of which the most virtuous is Lithuania. In the country, supermarkets are required by law to impose a deposit of ten cents on consumers on the purchase of every glass bottle (but also plastic or aluminum can). In order to collect the deposit, the consumer must then return the bottle in special vending machines, positioned in front of the supermarkets. Finally, the distributor will issue a ticket to collect the money or receive a voucher.
    With this system, Lithuania has avoided the emission of 152 thousand tons of CO2, bringing the percentage of recycled bottles from 30 to 90% in just three years.

    What happens to the bottles?

    The glass containers are sorted: one part is recycled, while the other is reused. The security deposit system thus allows to amortize the cost of the bottles, which are reused on average about ten times. And it requires manufacturers to take responsibility for their own packaging, as required by European directives.
    The concrete effects of the Deposit Return System (DRS) they are easily visible and feed a virtuous dynamic that increases the awareness of producers and consumers of the environmental sustainability of their country.

    Italy: a half-way reform

    While the average interception rates of beverage packaging in the DRS active in the Old Continent exceed 90% and the EU institutions consider a possible common approach to the DRS, how does Italy behave?
    The law on the security deposit is made, but the implementing decree is missing. In the Simplifications decree in fact, last July also in Italy a regulation was introduced which provides for the security deposit. By November 2021, the Ministry of Ecological Transition should have adopted the implementing regulation, in order to establish operating procedures and timing; But this did not happen.
    The risk is therefore that the approved legislative amendment will remain a dead letter. And to pay the consequences will be our companies, ours technology and, last but not least, our portfolio.


    Read also: CoReVe and Anci: 10 million agreement for glass collection
    Stay up to date on the latest news from the world of glass, follow Vitrum on Instagram!

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