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25 Billion glass bottles were recycled by the European nations with a stable recycling rate of 68% and in the UK, the average total glass recycling figure stands at 61%, according to figures published by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

A public recycling center for the disposal of renewable resources.

A public recycling center for the disposal of renewable resources.

Glass stands out as one of the best examples of the closed loop production model, where bottles and jars are recycled back into bottles and jars again, not only because it is the most effectively recycled product in Europe or because it is 100% and infinitely recyclable, but also because of the well established separate collection schemes which are in place.

Figures released by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) showed that in 2010 the European Union maintained a stable average glass recycling rate at 68%, meaning that 25 billion glass bottles and jars were collected throughout the EU during 2010.

The report stated the UK has a total glass recycling average of 61%, however, only 600,000 tonnes of the total 1.6 million tonnes collected is currently being sent for re-melt.  Around 400,000 tonnes continues to be destined for aggregates, which is of lower environmental benefit than glass remelted for use in new bottles and jars.

There is plenty more that can be done, because more recycled glass is very beneficial for the environment and the study highlights some good practices.

The closed loop system is a practice with major environmental benefits, more recycled glass results in less waste being generated, less energy being used, fewer raw materials being extracted and less CO2 is emitted.

In Europe 80% of glass bottles and jars are recycled this way, using this method of glass recycling, the EU has reported to have saved more than 12 million tonnes of raw materials (sand, soda ash and limestone) in 2010.

In addition to raw materials being saved, more than 7 million tonnes of CO2 was avoided, which is the equal to taking 4 million cars off the road.

In March 2012, the chancellor announced changes to packaging regulations which will set new government targets for recycled targets in the UK. This should see glass recycling split into sub-categories in an effort to boost the amount of glass that is sent to re-melt.

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

We would still urge the government that while local authorities are not subject to this legislation, there is a danger that too much cullet will continue to end up in our roads instead of back on the shelf.


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