Hank, the singing bottle, uses the famous line “I’ll be back” as he embarks on a series of cartoon adventures to spread the word about the virtues of glass recycling.
The character has been devised by FEVE – The European Container Glass Association – to spearhead its “word of mouth” marketing and social networking campaign across the continent. It will appear in 14 European languages, which FEVE claims makes it the most international campaign of its type in the packaging industry. As Hank tells us on www.friendsofglass.com, glass packaging is 100% and endlessly recyclable: it always comes back to life in a new bottle or jar without any loss of quality. This means that, when glass reaches its ‘end of life’, most glass bottles or jars go back to the production cycle as substitutes for raw materials in a unique “cradle-to-cradle” recycling loop.
EU glass recycling targets surpassed
In Europe, nearly eleven million tonnes or 62% of container glass were collected for recycling in 2007(1). The EU target for glass recycling of 60% was then exceeded. According to the available data for the 27 member states, ten EU countries exceeded the 60% target which had to be reached in 2008 as required by the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, with Sweden (94%) and Belgium (92%) recording the highest rates. “The 62% glass recycling rate is a great result, which includes data from the new member states where recycling is still in its infancy,” explains Dominique Tombeur, President of FEVE – the EU Container Glass Association. “Now we want to focus on the huge unexploited potential of the remaining 38% of glass packaging which was put on the market but which is not yet being recycled. We hope Hank can help raise greater awareness about the importance of glass recycling, and we have created a new movement called “Friends of Glass” (www.friendsofglass.com) to support his efforts.”
Glass is best for environment
According to FEVE’s Secretary General, Adeline Farrelly, glass has a very impressive story to tell. “Glass recycling dramatically helps reduce CO2 emissions: the amount of glass recycled in 2007 provided the equivalent in CO2 savings of removing more than 1.7 million cars from the road (2). Recycling glass preserves natural resources: 1 tonne of waste glass saves 1.2 tonnes of natural raw materials. And recycling glass saves energy too: for every 10% of waste glass added in the production cycle at least 2% of energy is saved.” Consumers know about the environmental benefits of glass. When asked, 86% of consumers say they recycle their glass bottles. If given the choice, consumers state they would prefer glass in almost all food and beverage categories. Made from some of the raw materials most abundant in nature – sand, soda ash and limestone – consumers also appreciate glass for its ability to preserve original taste and its impermeability, making it one of the safest and healthiest ways to store products and least harmful impact on the environment.
No limits to glass recycling
Up to 90% of waste glass can be used to manufacture new glass containers, the only limit being is the quantity and quality of glass which is currently collected. “It is of fundamental importance to improve glass recycling and to support proper recycling systems in Europe,” says Dominique Tombeur.