Glass recycling up but alternative markets must be explored

The amount of recycled glass used in making new containers has increased by more than ten times over the past year, according to figures released by trade confederation British Glass.

Having gone up to 675,000 tonnes from just 58,000 in 2004, the industry noted the huge increase in the amount of recycled glass being reused for this purpose, and observed that a further 145,000 tonnes had been exported to other EU container makers.

Overall growth is estimated currently to be at around 17%, although British Glass was unable to confirm the figures for definite until Defra announces its official figures for 2004.

However, according to director of strategy and communications for British Glass Andrew Hartley, these figures show that based on the waste stream figure of 2.5 million tonnes, the 2005 UK target of 46.1% (or 1,167,500 tonnes) will not stretch the supply of recycled glass at a time when it is critical to maintain progress in order to achieve the 60% glass recycling target set by the EU Packaging Waste Directive.

"In order for glass recycling to achieve its 60% target, continued, focussed investment at local authority level is needed," he explained. "Despite the growing focus on the landfill allowance trading scheme (LATS), glass collection from households needs to double in the next four years. While growth rates have been very strong, they have come with a massive growth in mixed collection."

The organisation's figures also clearly show that there is an imbalance between the recycling of different kinds of glass. Container production in the UK is predominantly clear glass with high export rates, mainly in the form of whiskey bottles.

On the other hand, there is limited UK production of green glass but we have extremely high import rates, mainly in the form of filled wine bottles, the result being that there is a shortage of clear glass for recycling but more recycled green glass than container makers alone can recycle.

"The development of existing and higher value alternative markets is a crucial aspect of continued UK growth," Mr Hartley continued. "Above the 311,000 tonnes of green glass currently recycled by the container sector each year, alternative markets have to be found for any additional green that cannot be exported."

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has developed various other applications for recycled glass than making glass containers, including making bricks, water filtration, making cement and concrete and being used on sports turf such as golf courses.

However, Mr Hartley claimed that, although the technical feasibility of WRAP's alternative markets was proven and they could potentially offer high-volume, high-value alternative markets, he did not believe that they were, as yet, commercially viable.

"The current difficulties of supply, combined with a target that will continue to grow in absolute terms, means that more action is now needed in order to ensure that UK reaches its targets," he concluded.

"Capacity exists in the container industry to recycle over a million tonnes of glass, but future growth can only come from more clear and brown glass. Without action to address these issues there is concern that the UK may fail to meet the 2008 target."

600450 Glass recycling up but alternative markets must be explored

Others also read

Şişecam Glass Packaging became the winner of "A’ Golden Design Award"
A Şişecam Group Company, Şişecam Glass Packaging has won the ‘Golden Design Award’ with its Frederik beer glass bottle.
Despite all the digitalisation and automation in window manufacturing there are still jobs that are done by hand. Photo: 3E-Datentechnik.
The term Industry 4.0 has almost become a “household name” over the past few years. It stands for digitalisation and networking of the entire industrial value chain.
Glass sheet 9.000 x 3.210 mm
On the occasion of its OPEN HOUSE 2018, Forel presented the innovative IG line “No Limits 9000” for large size formats, able to process insulating glass panels of up to 9 x 3.30 metres.
Mappi expanding in Asian markets
With great pleasure, in these days Mappi concluded a strategic partnership with EUROTECHCORP the leading company in Viet Nam and South East Asia Countries with more than 20 years of experiences in consulting e supplying top of the range equipment line. 
Machinery and products for glass: Markets on the upswing, excellent exports performance
The Gimav Studies Centre releases official data on the sector: the growth trend continues for the 8th consecutive year.
Check out the exhibitors at ASEAN's largest glass show, Glasstech Asia 2018 & Fenestration Asia 2018!
Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC); Kuala Lumpur; 14 - 16 November 2018.

From industry

Add new comment