Industry Concern As Growth In Glass Recycling Fades

The container industry recycled record levels of glass in 2006, according to new industry figures – but worryingly the nation's growth in glass recycling has slowed.

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British Glass revealed preliminary data from its members today showing that 756,000 tonnes of recycled glass was used to make new bottles and jars last year.

But this was just 14,000 tonnes more than in 2005 – while industry experts believe a year-on-year increase of 125,000 tonnes of glass recycling may be needed to reach European Packaging Directive targets set for 2008.

The rate of growth in glass recycling by the container industry has slowed from 10% in 2005 to just 1.8% in 2006.

The Sheffield-based industry body suggested some of the reduced growth rate was the result of competition for material from the aggregates industry.

But even when including glass recycled by the aggregates sector into building products, British Glass said recycling in the second half of 2006 fell below levels seen in 2005.

Total glass recycling in quarter three of 2006 was 314,180 tonnes, compared with 325,993 in the same period during the previous year.

Rebecca Cocking, British Glass recycling manager said: "These figures are a concern. If this slow down continues there must be real doubt about future targets. Already we need an additional 125,000 tonnes to reach the 2007 target. Whilst some of our members believe unaccredited collectors could be stockpiling glass, it’s unlikely to have an impact on this year’s figures."

Mixed collections

The warning from British Glass came after WRAP said this month that the container industry would have to get used to dealing with more mixed glass, which is harder for glassmakers to recycle than separated clear, amber and green glass.

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