Drinks producers in Switzerland are paying for the recycling of glass bottles, under a scheme introduced by the Swiss Environment Agency.
A tax slapped on bottle manufacturers and bottle importers is being paid out to communities that collect glass for recycling.
The Swiss Environment Agency introduced the tax in January 2002 and assigned a firm, VetroSwiss, to collect it.
Through the scheme, between two and six centimes have been added to the price of drinks in glass bottles.
The total income from this tax in 2002 came to a higher-than-expected SFr24.4 million ($18.1 million), of which SFr18.4 will go directly to those communities involved in glass recycling.
The remainder of the sum will be held as a reserve and to cover the costs of advertising campaigns.
The agency estimates that the handout will fund most of the cost of collecting glass for recycling incurred by local communities.
The notion of “polluter-payer” - in which the companies that manufacture materials take responsibility for paying for them to be recycled - is enshrined in both the law on the protection of the environment and the Swiss Constitution.
This law already applies to PET (plastic) bottles and aluminium cans, although the recycling of these products is managed by private businesses and not the authorities.
The agency says it is now up to local communities to manage the money handed out to them for glass collection and to inform their citizens on how it is spent.
VetroSwiss calculated that around 290,100 tons of used glass were collected in 2002, down from 293,700 tons in 2001.
swissinfo with agencies
Communities will receive SFr18.4 million to fund glass recycling under a new scheme that slaps an extra tax on glass bottle producers.
The tax was introduced in January 2002, causing drinks manufacturers to add between two and six centimes to the price of drinks in glass bottles.
Some 290,100 tonnes of used glass were recycled in Switzerland last year, down from 293,700 the previous year.
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