New figures for European glass recycling tick all the sustainability boxes

Posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

In 2008, an estimated 25.5 billion glass bottles and jars  were recycled within the EU, corresponding to an average collection recycling rate of 65% for the EU27 countries, and nearly 11.5 million tonnes of glass packaging collected all over Europe (including Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

“This data confirms the clear positive trend over the past year, when, thanks to the collaboration of citizens, a number of EU countries have reached the ambitious 60% collection target fixed by the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive,” says Dominique Tombeur, President of FEVE – the EU association for container glass.

In countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Spain efforts were made to further increase the already good results, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia saw a steady improvement in the Eastern Region where collection and recycling systems can still be enhanced.

In Belgium and Sweden close to 100 % of glass bottles and jars put on the market were collected, making the vision of a zero waste packaging material an ambitious objective which, to be realized, has to rely on the strong cooperation of all stakeholders starting from the citizens, the policy makers and the industry.

At EU level, taking the EU15 countries as a reference, national consumption increased by 8% over the past ten years while glass packaging waste destined to other uses and to landfill decreased by 26%.

Thanks to the proven and longstanding closed loop bottle-to-bottle recycling system, recycled glass stands out as a real renewable material. 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.

“The results reached in glass collection for recycling prove that glass packaging is a fully sustainable resource” says Dominique Tombeur.  Unlike other materials a very high rate of collected glass is actually recycled in a new production cycle with an extremely positive impact on depletion of raw material savings, energy savings and emissions saving.”

Glass is best for environment
Recycling glass preserves natural resources: 1 tonne of recycled glass saves 1.2 tonnes of natural raw materials.  And recycling glass saves energy too: for every 10% of recycled glass added in the production cycle, about 3% of energy is saved.

Consumers know about the environmental benefits of glass.  When asked, 86% of consumers say they recycle their glass bottles and jars. If given the choice, a big majority of consumers (about 74%) state they would prefer glass packed products in almost all food and beverage categories. Made from some of the most abundant raw materials 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 with the least harmful impact on the environment.

Filed under News, Recycling, Reports

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