Pub operators will have to recycle glass bottles following a legal ruling which means that EU packaging waste reduction targets will now apply to the trade.
The change in the interpretation of the law follows a legal challenge by packaging trade body Valpak. Until now, the legal obligation to recycle beer, PPS, soft drink and mixer bottles supplied to licensed premises for consumption on site has fallen on the brewer or supplier.
But the courts have now ruled that any pub company with a turnover of more than £2m is legally a "seller" and must recycle at least 48 per cent of glass bottles. There are also recycling targets for other forms of packaging.Brewers, on the other hand, will now be considered only as "fillers" of bottles and their obligation to recycle will be reduced to 37 per cent.
Jeff Cooper, spokesman for the Environment Agency, said: "Pub, club, hotel and restaurant chains will need to register with the Environment Agency or the appropriate regulator in Scotland or Northern Ireland."