Collecting more and better: the final push to reach 100% glass circularity

(EurActiv, 21 Sep 2021) Glass packaging already has one of the highest recycling rates in Europe, but better collection of a greater amount of glass is needed to meet Europe’s goal of a 75% recycling rate and, eventually, reach complete circularity.

Dating back to the 1970s, there is a long history of sorting and collecting glass packaging for recycling and reuse in Europe.

“Glass is a great example of a circular material. It is already achieving outstanding results in waste collection and recycling,” according to Virginijus Sinkevičius, Europe’s environment commissioner.

But it is yet to reach complete circularity – some glass is still wasted and new glass is still made using carbon-intensive production.

Currently, 76% of glass packaging is collected for recycling. Meanwhile, glass packaging contains on average 52% recycled content. The industry is determined to reach 90% collection by 2030 and the European Commission has set a target of 75% recycling by 2030.

Glass is a very simple and permanent material that can be endlessly and easily recycled into new glass applications, without any degradation of its quality. The challenge to increase recycled content is to have access to recycled glass. That’s why improving collection is so important for us,” said Vanessa Chesnot, senior product policy manager at the European Container Glass Federation, an industry group.

Improving the uptake of recycled content would bring major environmental benefits: a 10% increase of recycled content in the furnace decreaseenergy consumption by 3% and CO2 emissions by 5%, according to Chesnot.

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EurActiv, 21 Sep 2021: Collecting more and better: the final push to reach 100% glass circularity