Glass sector trade association, British Glass, has called on councils to continue the collection of household recycling to avoid driving up demand for “carbon-intensive” raw materials during the coronavirus pandemic.
The association said that while it recognises the unprecedented challenges councils are facing, the government’s decision to “name the waste sector and food and drink packaging manufacturers as critical sectors during the pandemic” reflects the need to continue recycling collections.
British Glass explained that the glass packaging industry produces a product that is endlessly recyclable, and often relying heavily on recycled glass (cullet) being reused in the manufacturing process to produce new glass containers.
Many councils throughout the UK have taken the decision to limit, or completely stop glass collections, while some have issued advice to residents to store their glass and other recyclables until normal service resumes.
Phillip Fenton, lead packaging and recycling advisor for British Glass, said: “We recognise this is an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone, from individuals and businesses to local and national government, and the priority must be staying safe and protecting each other and our NHS.
“The workers collecting our waste and recycling are doing an essential job and we must do all we can to keep them safe, through practising social distancing and providing protective equipment”
“Whilst we face this current crisis, we must not forget the critical value of recycling”
“But whilst we face this current crisis, we must not forget the critical value of recycling; for our manufacturers who take our used glass and remelt into new bottles and jars; for our environment, with every recycling collection diverting glass from landfill; and for the climate emergency, with recycled glass reducing the need for raw materials which are more carbon-intensive than recycled glass.”
The message from British Glass follows a number of similar pleas from associations across the sector, which are worried of the impact a slowdown of household material could have.