Mountain of foreign glass sparks recycling feud

Bickering between Swedish recycling companies and local councils over who should pay for recycling foreign booze bottles has reached breaking point, with the government now being forced to step in as a mediator.

Mountain of foreign glass sparks recycling feud

The issue concerns all those privately imported German bottles of wine or Danish beer cans, and whose responsibility it is to recycle them.

The Swedish bottle recycling company Svensk Glasåtervinning AB has already riled several municipalities by requesting they pay them for the privilege of recycling the foreign glass bottles and turning them into new Swedish glass.

Alcoholic drinks in cans and bottles from abroad are not part of the Swedish recycling system as their manufacturers have not paid a recycling fee. As a result, Svensk Glasåtervinning AB and other recycling companies claim they are not responsible for such foreign containers.

So the government has put Krister Nilsson, a former State Secretary with the Social Democrats, in charge of solving the dispute.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio, Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren explained why the situation needs a mediator.

“A few things haven’t been working. There are many recycling depots that have closed, and we cannot risk the level of service becoming too bad. In addition, a few municipalities and companies involved have not been in agreement, and that is not good”, he said.

There are currently 7,500 recycling depots in Sweden where people can deposit glass, cans, metal and paper.