EU glass recycling rate passes 70%

16 Apr 2014
Bottles for recycling

The latest industry data, from FEVE - the European Container Glass Federation, published ahead of the European Commission 2012 figures expected at the end of 2014 – confirm average glass recycling rates in the European Union have passed the 70% mark. This means that over 25 billion bottles and jars were collected throughout the European Union in 2012 to make new bottles. The savings in virgin resources could build two Egyptian pyramids.

Recycling means that less virgin materials are needed despite market growth. Between 1990 and 2012, EU consumption of products packed in glass increased by 39% in Europe. Glass recycling increased at the much quicker pace of 131%. As a result there is a big reduction of raw materials, CO2 and energy used to produce new bottles. Available industry data show a distinct decoupling of industry growth from resource demand and environmental impacts: 189 million tons of raw materials saved; and 138 million tons of waste have not gone to landfill thanks to recycling.

However, FEVE says more needs to be done to improve the quality of collected glass that can be effectively recycled in a circular economy, as well as to collect the remaining 30% of used glass that currently is wasted. This industry effort supports the ambitious vision of the European Commission to build a “zero waste” and “resource efficient” society.

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