EU glass recycling now over 70 per cent

glass recycling

According to the latest glass recycling industry data, published today (26 March) by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), the average glass recycling rate in the European Union has risen above the 70 per cent threshold for the first time.

FEVE states that this means over 11 million tonnes of glass was collected throughout the EU in 2011.

The efforts to increase glass recycling were made to meet the EU’s 60 per cent recycling target for glass, a level that was reached by all the relevant countries in 2008.

UK collecting ‘over 60 per cent’ of glass

FEVE’s data reveals in 2011 the majority of countries reached or rose above the 60 per cent recycling glass target.

Belgium was the country that collected most glass for recycling at 98.65 per cent, whereas Malta is shown to collect the least at 5.80 per cent. 

According to the data the UK continues to make ‘steady, if more modest progress’, achieving glass recycling rates of 63.94 per cent.

Basing its findings on FEVE lifecycle assessment for container glass, the association suggests that by recycling glass, in 2011 the EU:

  • saved over 12 million tonnes of raw materials;
  • avoided over seven million tonnes of CO2, equal to taking four million cars off the road and;
  • saved 2.5 per cent of energy for each 10 per cent of glass recycled in the furnace.

FEVE suggests that continued improvement in glass recycling can be attributed to all participants in the glass closed-loop recycling industry. The glass industry has ‘designed, manufactured and marketed containers to be effectively recycled in a closed-loop system,’ and have ‘effectively communicated good recycling practices to consumers’.

Additionally, FEVE recognises the collection and processing schemes that have been ‘extended and progressively improved’ contributing to the public being ‘made aware of the importance of collecting more glass’.

‘Glass recycling is the key component’

FEVE added that ‘more needs to be done’ to collect the remaining 30 per cent of used glass that is currently wasted, and highlighted the importance of material quality and closed-loop recycling in promoting a circular economy that suits the ambitious vision of the European Commission to build a ‘zero waste’ and ‘resource efficient’ society.

Stefan Jaenecke, President of FEVE, said: “We have no problems in absorbing more recycled glass provided that this is of high quality. Glass recycling is the key component of the circular economy - because recycling closes the loop. Glass recycling saves raw materials and energy and reduces production costs.”

Commenting on the latest figures, Rebecca Cocking, Head of Container Affairs at British Glass added: "We're fully committed to working in partnership with all those along the supply chain to help make glass in landfill sites a thing of the past and to ensure that recycled glass is sent to applications with positive environmental benefit such as back into new bottles and jars.

“We also continue to highlight the benefits of recycling glass to the consumer via the our participation in the successful Friends of Glass movement, which now has some 33,000 supporters, plus over 40,000 Facebook fans and 7,200 Twitter followers".

Read more about FEVE’S data on glass recycling in the EU.