Ardagh Glass and Reuse Group invest £5m in recycling push

Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 9:53 am

Ardagh has three glass manufacturing plants in Yorkshire, and is partnering Reuse to increase the volume of cullet, which has so far boosted recycling for clear glass by 12%.

West Yorkshire based Reuse is one of the UK’s leading glass recycling companies.

£5m Investment

Jamie Brown Head of Production Reuse and Sharon Crayton Head of Marketing Ardagh Glass.

The partnership’s £5m investment in new sorting and separation technology comprises a four-stage process, starting with the removal of medium-sized organic and loose ferrous metals, followed by a drying section to remove dust and smaller materials, and thirdly, the removal of residual metallic, leaded glass and materials that burn at much higher temperatures than container glass such as pyrex. The final and most critical stage subjects the remaining material to a thorough cleaning before it is separated by colour using a range of advanced cleaning, purification and optical sorting techniques.

This new technology enables much better material recovery of glass by colour from the waste stream – glass particles as small as 4mm can now be successfully separated by colour, as opposed to only 10mm with the previous technology.

This has already helped Ardagh to increase the recycled content of the glass bottles and jars that it produces by 12%.

The resulting “pure” cullet is then supplied to Ardagh as high quality recycled glass for use in its furnaces to make new bottles and jars.

Larry Mantell, procurement director UK, Ardagh Group, told Packaging News the investment was made by Reuse on the strength of the 15-year supply agreement with Ardagh.

“This supply contract includes an agreement to maintain the latest technology, therefore if technology moves on then the plant will receive further investment. We strive to increase our recycling rates as high as possible, glass in infinitely recyclable and perfectly satisfies the requirements of a circular economy where no resources are wasted by going into landfill.”

Mantell added that investment and supply requirements are constantly being reviewed in line with market conditions and business requirements.

Sharon Crayton, head of marketing at Ardagh Glass, Europe, said the company has been producing green bottles that contain over 90% of recycled glass for years, but high recycling levels for clear (flint) glass have posed a challenge due to difficulties in colour separating.

“This new technology has put us at the forefront of UK recycling, helping us to significantly increase the recycled content for clear (flint) bottles and jars. For example, our Doncaster plant which is focused solely on the production of clear (flint) glass, achieved an average recycled content level of over 50% in the first quarter of 2014 against an average recycling rate of 32% in the same quarter of 2013.”

The new Reuse glass sorting and separation facilities have a total capacity for up to 250,000 tonnes of waste glass – approximately 13% of the UK’s steam of waste glass.

With waste glass collection increasingly moving away from bottle banks to kerbside collections, recycling firms have found it challenging to separate the glass from other recyclables, and then re-processing it into quality colour separated cullet.

Mark Wilson, chief executive of Reuse, said: “This latest investment, the first in an ongoing programme, gives us the technology to produce more finished cullet of the highest standard to meet the growing requirements of Ardagh.

“However, it remains easier and more effective to recycle glass back into glass bottles and jars when glass is collected separately from other packaging materials. We therefore urge councils to consider this when renewing their waste management contracts.”

(Reuse Collections Ltd t/a Berryman part of the Reuse Group)

Information from 22nd July 2014.

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