Room for glass recycling improvement in EU – O-I

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

Room for glass recycling improvement in EU – O-I
Owens Illinois (O-I) believes there is a “huge untapped potential” to boost glass recycling totals in the EU.

The average glass recycling rate is stable at 68%, according to a report published by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

O-I believe the latest figures represent a strong performance across the EU as a whole but there “are no grounds for thinking the task is complete​.”

The glass manufacturer has operations in 10 European countries and is particularly focussed in the UK, where the rate is only 61%.

It aims to increase volumes collected and maximise closed loop recycling of glass into new bottles and jars, rather than diverting the material to less environmentally valuable uses.

Every 10% of recycled glass used in production results in a reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 5% and energy savings of about 3%, said O-I.

Need to increase recycling

Viivika Remmel, marketing director for O-I Europe said: “We are working with a host of stakeholders to increase the recycling of glass containers in all the countries in which we operate​.

We have ambitious targets to increase the amount we use in our production; every time we increase the recycled content of our glass, we enhance the environmental impact of our customers’ products​.”

The FEVE report, one year ahead of Eurostat’s official data, relates to 25bn glass bottles and jars collected in the EU in 2010.

FEVE’s members produce 20m tonnes of glass per year with manufacturing plants across 23 European states.

Announcement due

In May this year the EU Commission is due to announce a new legal status for post consumer glass, a measure hoped to help increase recycling rates.

Remmel added: “We want to encourage people to keep on recycling and to consider whether any of their glass containers still slip through into general waste​.

Glass is a very easy material to recycle as it does not require extensive reprocessing before being returned to the furnace​.”

Niall Wall, president of FEVE said: “As there is still 32% of glass that is not yet collected our goal is to get this precious resource back in the bottle-to-bottle loop​.

With the help of national and EU authorities, collectors and processors we want to increase the quantities of good quality glass collected so that we can recycle more in our plants​.”

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