Irn-Bru makers to end 30p glass bottle returns

AG Barr is to end glass bottle returns after 110 years as it invests in new facilities. Picture: PA
AG Barr is to end glass bottle returns after 110 years as it invests in new facilities. Picture: PA

Irn Bru has announced it will no longer offer 30p to fans of the drink who return its glass bottles.

The news of the plan has been met with dismay by fans who recall using the deposit scheme for handy pocket money when growing up.

Some of the older glass bottle designs. Picture: PA

Some of the older glass bottle designs. Picture: PA

AG Barr has said the ditching of the 110-year old scheme comes after the number of returned bottles, known affectionately as ‘gingers’, dropped by 50 per cent, with many households opting to recycle them instead.

The soft drink maker saw 90 per cent of its bottles returned in the early 90s, but now only half of bottles are being returned.

Barr’s have been keen to stress that a £5 million investment in its Cumbernauld facility will secure the future of Barr’s iconic 750ml glass bottle, ensuring that drinkers can continue to enjoy their juice in glass.

However this investment in a new, high-speed filling glass line means Barr will no longer have the infrastructure to handle returned bottles.

Jonathan Kemp, Barr’s commercial director, said: “We know how much our consumers love the taste of their favourite soft drink flavours in our iconic 750ml glass bottles. This significant investment allows us to continue to offer our consumers their favourite products in glass, well into the future.

“With improved kerbside recycling, only one in two of our bottles are now being returned, meaning that the process of handling returned bottles has become uneconomic. We will continue to offer the same quality products in the 750ml bottle for the long-term, but the bottle will no longer be returnable.”

This investment will replace Barr’s current glass line, which is almost 20 years old, with faster more efficient glass filling capability, and will see the energy-hungry returnable glass bottle washing equipment decommissioned.

Barr will continue to accept bottles until the December 31 2015 and consumers can continue to return their bottles to retailers until this date.

From January 1, 2016 consumers should recycle their bottles through their household recycling scheme or using ‘on-the-go’ public recycling facilities.

Mr Kemp added: “From the beginning of October, information on the change will be carried on the bottle label and we will work with retailers to display materials in their premises to ensure our consumers understand what is planned.

“This exciting investment in the future of our glass filling capability will ensure that our loyal glass bottle fans can continue to enjoy their favourite soft drinks, exactly as they are, for many years to come.”