A total of 12 million tons of glass bottles and jars are collected and recycled in Europe, with an average glass recycling rate in the EU28 of 74%, latest FEVE data confirms.
The European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) said the figure is set to rise.
With the Circular Economy now at the forefront of the political agenda, EU Member States have committed to ambitious targets on municipal waste reduction and glass packaging recycling.
It signals a renewed investment in separate collection for glass packaging in the coming years.
Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary General, said: “ An estimated 90% of what is collected goes into creating new bottles from old ones, offering brands and consumers a food grade quality recycled material.
“Today, recycled glass is our most important raw material, which brings us major environmental benefits, and energy savings.”
A recent FEVE study on glass packaging recycling demonstrates that countries such as Austria and Sweden have gone beyond 90% collection for recycling rates by installing bottle bank systems and investing in consumer awareness.
Tailored solutions will need to be found locally, but separating glass from the other materials is the best investment for public authorities to meet new glass recycling targets.
Its recent consumer research suggests that particularly for millennials, environmental credentials drive their product choice, and that the take-back culture for glass packaging is very strong where there is bottle bank infrastructure in place.
The average 74% EU glass collection for recycling rate masks a variety of situations between countries.
In th ‘Over 90%’ league are Belgium, Finland, Austria, Sweden and Slovenia where separate collection schemes for glass perform very well and provide a high quality secondary raw material for the industry.
Countries in the ’Under 40%’ league include Greece, Hungary, Slovakia Malta and Romania where the collection culture and, consequently the glass collection schemes have important potential for growth.
The latest glass recyling data is from the year 2016.
Pictured: Container glass recycling rates across Europe in 2016.