The Wheatley plant will "effectively double" the amount of recycled glass that can be processed by its owners, glass collection company Berryman, and has created 32 new jobs.
The company said it is the "world's most advanced glass recycling facility and the only one of its kind in the UK capable of processing both container glass and plate glass". The plant forms part of a £20 million investment programme under Berryman's 25-year partnership arrangement with glass reprocessor Rockware.
The new facility will take mainly flint cullet (clear glass) from bottle banks and kerbside collections throughout the UK, as well as trade sources including the pubs and clubs served by Berryman's Recycle-More-Glass service.
But, Berryman said the plant has the flexibility to switch to processing green or amber glass if required. Berryman said the plant will allow a much wider scope for recycling waste glass from "alternative sources".
Mick Keogh, general manager at Berryman, said: "We are very proud of our new facility at Wheatley, and plan to add an information centre in the near future so that local groups and people can see for themselves why it is so important to collect and recycle used glass bottles and jars."
The Wheatley plant, which is adjacent to glass reprocessor Rockware's site, is the second such treatment plant to be brought in by Berryman over the last four years. A similar, £4.5 million plant opened in the year 2000 at Rockware's head office site in Knottingley, West Yorkshire.
For its processing plants, Berryman has introduced new technology that includes "colour enhancing" equipment to increase the purity of clear glass from 97% to 99.5% pure. Other new equipment removes pyro-ceramic contaminants such as Pyrex from bottle bank glass.
As well as increasing local authority collections and the Recycle-More-Glass programme, Berryman is gaining more recycled glass through its relationship with beverage filling company Diageo Supply. The company, which fills Guiness and Smirnoff Ice products among others, has established a working party through its Runcorn Packaging Unit, with Berryman, to improve the recycling of its waste glass.
The amount of recycled glass turned into new containers by Rockware has increased from 1.15 million tonnes in 1999 to almost 1.5 million tonnes in 2003. The company's latest sustainable development report said it is aiming to "base more of our production on recycled glass and reduce the use of virgin raw materials".