Glass recycling rates rise across Europe

By Chris Sloley

The amount of glass collected for recycling across Europe rose by 3% between 2008 and 2009, according to figures published this week by the European Container Glass Federation.

The data published by the Brussels-based body, known as Feve, also shows that the UKs recycling rate rose marginally during the same period, from 61% in 2008 to 62% in 2009 (see story).

This would seem to suggest that the UK is lagging behind the European Union average of 67.42%.

However, it is hard to draw a definite comparison, as the UK data relates to material that is actually recycled as listed on the National Packaging Waste Database. Whereas, all the other European data relates to glass collected for recycling and is unofficial data voluntarily submitted to Feve.

The average collection rate for the 27 European Union nations rose from 65% to 67.42% between 2008 and 2009. The figures show that 11 countries are now recycling over three quarters of glass collected for recycling, with Belgium (96%), the Netherlands (92%), Sweden (90%) and Austria (90%) taking the lead.


The is data also shows that, since 1999, the UK glass recycling rate has risen by over double from 26% to 62%, having seen a slight dip in performance between 2005 and 2006 when the rate fell from 53% to 50% before recovering.

This is compared to smaller rise in glass collected for recycling across the European Union, which has risen from 56% to 67% over the same period.

Glass recycling increases each year thanks to the commitment of consumers everywhere, said Niall Wall, President of Feve. Our industry is able to turn this waste into a valuable resource to make new bottles and jars because glass by nature is 100% recyclable.

Feve represents 60 corporate members from across the glass container and machine-made glass tableware sectors.

These members represent approximately 20 independent groups, such as bodies representing corporate brands and manufacturing plants. The UK members are: Allied Glass; Ardagh Glass; Beatson Clark; and, O-I Recycling.

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Feve – Statistics 2009

Dave Dalton, chief executive of industry trade body, the British Glass Manufacturers Association, said: Most other countries have a very different approach to glass recycling figures and I think the UK figures are very much biased to the fact that glass is sent to alternative uses in a higher proportion than other areas of Europe.

He added: I dont think it is a poor overall performance but it does reflect on the fact that the infrastructure in this country has moved away from closed loop and we are working with Defra and WRAP to rectify that.

Caption: The Feve figures for 2009 show a gradually increasing rate of glass collected for recycling across Europe

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