A report published by the Association of Cities and Regions (ACR+) for the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) has said that separate waste collection schemes should be supported in order to build a circular economy for glass packaging.
The report states that Europe needs to use its resources much more sparingly by recycling more, meaning that higher collection rates and higher quality of collected glass are required.
It concludes that only glass bottles and jars collected separately will result in both a higher quantity and quality of cullet availability that can save resources to make new packaging.
Based on a comprehensive assessment of European municipalities’ collection schemes, the study by ACR+ found that separate collection systems processed material of better quality to meet the specifications necessary for bottle-to-bottle production and is cost competitive in relation to the use of virgin raw materials. Other systems like commingled collections can be either too costly or provide glass only suitable for low-grade applications such as aggregate.
FEVE secretary general Adeline Farrelly said: “Last year, more than 25 billion bottles and jars were collected in Europe, while almost 100 per cent of the glass collected is used, the vast majority of it – well over 80 per cent – is actually recycled in a bottle-to-bottle production system supporting a circular economy.
“The better the quality of the glass collected the more we can recycle in a bottle-to-bottle system. This type of glass recycling is not only a local industry but also brings major economic and environmental benefits. We strongly support the findings of this timely study which underpins the importance given to recycling in the EU’s waste hierarchy.”