British Glass Industry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:14 pm on 14th July 2022.

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Photo of Conor McGinn Conor McGinn Deputy National Campaign Co-ordinator, Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office) 4:14 pm, 14th July 2022

My hon. Friend demonstrates the unity of purpose and message discipline on the Opposition Benches, because she anticipates the very point that I was just coming to. In 2020, 76% of container glass was recycled, and the industry has set an ambitious target of a 90% glass collection rate by 2030. To help those efforts, British Glass has called for glass bottles to be excluded from the scope of the UK’s deposit return scheme, which my hon. Friend alluded to, and to be collected instead through an improved system of extended producer responsibility.

Independent evidence has shown that kerbside collections are the most effective route to achieving closed-loop bottle-to-bottle recycling in the UK. The sector was pleased by the recent decision to exclude glass from the upcoming England scheme, but the industry remains concerned about the prospect of multiple diverging schemes across the UK, which would increase complexity, cost and confusion for the public and businesses alike. I wonder whether the Minister might address that point and say what work the Government are doing, alongside regional and devolved authorities, to address those concerns.

The challenge of ensuring that glass making can be built on high-value and sustainable zero-carbon products requires new solutions that fuse elements of research, design, collaboration, innovation and partnership between industry, academic life and political leaders. Not for the first time, we in St Helens are leading the way. A beacon for that is the cutting-edge project that we are working on with Glass Futures, Liverpool city region and our partners in industry to deliver a £54 million centre of excellence, in the heart of the town and our borough, for the sustainable manufacture of glass globally.

Having turned the first sod on that project in February, we are already making huge progress on delivering the 165,000 square foot state-of-the art facility, which will be capable of producing up to 30 tonnes of glass a day and will include the world’s first ever openly accessible multi-disciplinary glass-melting factory. It will give researchers and industry leaders from across the world a unique space to collaborate and experiment with different energy sources, including electricity, biofuels and hydrogen, raw materials and other emerging technologies to demonstrate solutions leading to sustainable energy usage in glass making.