Latest glass recycling figures for the EU show that there is now far more glass recycled than ever before in Europe, increasing by 131% since the 1990s.

Latest industry data confirms that 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.

All participants in the container glass value chain contribute to these achievements. The glass industry designs and produces containers that can be effectively recycled in a closed loop system.

“This is a concrete case of the decoupling effect that we want to build in a resource efficient Europe. It has been put in place many years ago and works very well”, says Filip Kaczmarek, Member of the European Parliament.

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 is currently 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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