A recent industry data by FEWE, the European container glass federation, on glass recycling has confirmed that tons of glass bottles and jars are collected and recycled in Europe, with an average glass recycling rate of 74%.
The federation said that glass remains the best performing food grade closed loop across the world and the latest industry data had a two-year time lag dating from 2016.
EU Member States have committed to determined targets on municipal waste reduction and glass packaging recycling. FEWE looks forward to set this figure increase while the circular economy at the fore front of the political agenda.
It is expected to promote renewed investment in the coming years for separate collection of glass packaging, engaging consumers, municipalities, extended producer responsibility schemes, recyclers and manufacturers in a collaborative effort to collect sort and treat the glass that is currently leaking from the system.
FEVE secretary general Adeline Farrelly said: “As an industry we commit to actually recycle all collected glass of sufficient quality in the closed loop. An estimated 90% of what is collected goes into creating new bottles from old ones, offering brands and consumers a food grade quality recycled material. Today, recycled glass is our most important raw material, which brings us major environmental benefits, and energy savings.”
The federation’s recent study on glass packaging recycling showed that countries such as Austria and Sweden have gone beyond 90% collection for recycling rates by installing bottle bank systems and investing in consumer awareness.
FEWE suggested that separating glass from the other materials is the best investment for public authorities to meet the new glass recycling targets and customized solutions need to be found locally.
Farrelly added: “Consumers have a strong connection with glass packaging, which is for them more than just a packaging. Over ten years ago, the industry decided to invest in consumer communications to raise awareness about the importance of glass recycling and the other key assets of glass packaging. We want to help bridge the collection gap, but clearly cannot do so on our own.”
The average 74% EU glass collection for recycling rate reflects a variety of situations between countries. The countries in the ‘Over90%’ top league are Belgium, Finland, Austria, Sweden and Slovenia where separate collection schemes for glass executed well.
The countries in the’ Under 40%’ league includes Greece, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Malta, Romania where the glass collection schemes have potential for growth.
FEWE said that in conclusion, each country is different and needs its own customized strategy for ensure effective glass recycling.