Is renewable bio-polythene, or more specifically bio-derived polyethylene, ethically responsible and does it bring any benefits to the environment? James Lee, managing director of Cromwell Polythene takes a look at some of the issues around ...
*FOR glass price indicators, click on the links on the right – or you can see below for 2016 price indicators*
Note: From January 2016 the indices for mixed glass have been split to separately show two prices, one for glass from a Mixed Bottles source and one for mixed glass from MRFs (materials recycling facilities). Prior to this date the Mixed Glass price shown reflected both the Mixed Bottle and MRF prices.
UK glass manufacturers prize clear glass most highly because and while most glass made in the UK is clear, by far the largest proportion of the glass waste stream is green. For this reason green is prized the least. Completely mixed glass cannot generally be used in the container re-melt industry, where colour purity is vital, and must instead go to alternative uses such as aggregates. However, new sorting techniques are starting to allow this to happen.
A number of UK glass recycling companies have invested in new glass sorting technology in recent years, which has enabled them to sort and separate quality mixed glass to a high standard, making colour-contamination less of a problem.
Despite increasing competition from alternative glass markets such as aggregates, energy costs and limits on carbon emissions are leading container manufacturers to do everything in their power to use more recycled cullet.
But although many glassmakers would argue container manufacture is the best use of cullet, as glass can be re-melted countless times, alternative uses such as grit blasting, use in road surfaces and water filtration will become increasingly important in ensuring end-markets.
In March 2014, Defra lowered the UK’s glass packaging recycling target to 75% of the total glass packaging placed on the market in 2014 (the target was previously 81%) with the aim of tackling volatile PRN prices. This target will increase to 76% in 2015 and 77% from 2016 onwards.
The target was changed to better reflect the amount of glass on the market, after a glass industry report had found that the figure had previously been overestimated by around 350,000 tonnes.
And, unlike in the UK, companies abroad in wine-producing countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal are happier to take more mixed glass to process green container glass. These countries are the main recipients of exported UK glass, which is then used to create wine bottles.
Prices shown are in £ per tonne.
|2016 £ per tonne||January||February||March||April||May||June|
|Brown bottles||7 - 14||7 - 14||7 - 14||7 - 14||7 - 14||9 - 14|
|Clear bottles||10 - 25||10 - 25||10 - 25||10 - 25||10 - 25||12 - 25|
|Green bottles||0 - 14||0 - 14||0 - 14||0 - 14||0 - 14||2 - 14|
|Mixed bottles||0 - 13||0 - 13||0 - 13||0 - 13||0 - 13||0 - 15|
|MRF glass||-30 - -10||-31 - -10||-31 - -10||-31 - -10||-30 - -10||-30 - -10|
|2016 £ per tonne||July||August||September||October||November||December|