EU glass recycling rate tops 70% for first time, says FEVE

By Joe Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

More than 70% of glass collected for recycling in EU says latest data
More than 70% of glass collected for recycling in EU says latest data

Related tags European union

The average glass recycling rate in the European Union has broken the 70% barrier for the first time, according to the latest data from the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

This means that over 11 million tons were collected throughout the European Union in 2011, said FEVE.

However, the group said more needs to be done to collect the remaining 30% of used glass that currently is wasted, and to promote a circular economy.

80% of glass collected for recycling is used again to produce new glass bottles in the closed loop system.

"The industry can play a big role in communicating about the sustainability role of the packaging (eg how a packaging is easily recyclable and actually recycled),"​ a FEVE spokesman told

"But also in absorbing all the packaging that has been collected and using it as precious resource for a new production cycle in a circular economy."

Country analysis

Some countries are in good shape to meet the target within the later fixed deadlines, while there is still potential to improve for others, said FEVE.

Belgium was the best performing country, consuming 314,276 thousand tons of glass which 310,029 was collected resulting in a recycling rate of 98.65%.

Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland all had recycling rates above 90%.

The above examples show a very good culture to recycling, to act for the environment and choosing glass because it is recyclable, the spokesman added.

However, Turkey (25.81%), Romania (25.55%), Cyprus (34.69%) and Malta (5.8%) were the worst performing nations based on the latest available data.

When asked above how this can be improved, he said customers need to be provided with easy to collect packaging solutions that can be effectively recycled in a closed loop and collection and recycling schemes put in place in collaboration with the industry stakeholders.

FEVE said that by recycling glass, in 2011 in the EU:

- Over 12m tons of raw materials (sand, soda ash, limestone) were saved

- Over 7m tons of CO2 were avoided equal to taking 4m cars off the road

- A saving of 2.5% energy for each 10% glass recycled in the furnace

The deadline to meet the 60% target varies from 2008 to 2015, depending on the country according to the EU and defined by the EC Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (EC Official Journal L 365 31/12/1994).

Glass benefits

“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​,” said Stefan Jaenecke, President of FEVE.

"Glass recycling saves raw materials and energy and reduces production costs.”

FEVE members include Ardagh, O-I, Verallia, Beatson Clark and Vetropack.

The majority of the results were based on 2011 statistics but for some countries 2010 FEVE or Eurostat data was used.

Rebecca Cocking, head of container affairs at British Glass, said: “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.” 

Related news

Show more

Related product

Follow us


View more