A project undertaken by container glass manufacturer Encirc and R&D organisation Glass Futures has proven that new bottles are able to be made from 100% recycled glass, using only the energy from burning ultra-low-carbon biofuels.
Made out of waste organic materials, biofuels are a renewable and much more sustainable fuel source than those traditionally used by the glass sector, and can reduce the carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90%.
By using up to 100% recycled glass to create the new bottles, the trial has been able to even further minimise the lifetime impact of these products.
Encirc received the biofuel in December last year and it is hoped that the results will pave the way for an industry-wide reduction in carbon emissions, as the glass sector moves away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon alternatives.
More in-depth results from the trial, taking place at one of Encirc’s plants in Derrylin Northern Ireland, are expected to come in over the next few weeks and will feed into UK Government policy around decarbonisation.
The project forms part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme, within which Glass Futures is leading a £7.1m project to help determine the most effective route to switch the glass sector to low carbon fuels.
Fiacre O’Donnell, Director of Sustainability at Vidrala, which is Encirc’s parent company said: “The results we’re seeing from this biofuel trial are truly remarkable, and paint a very bright and sustainable future for our industry.
“We’re also looking into the development of hydrogen, and advancements in electric melting to truly discover the future of glass production.
“These ultra-low-CO2 containers we’re making are being produced for some of the biggest names in the drinks industry, showing how united we all are in our quest for total sustainability.”
Adrian Curry, Managing Director at Encirc added: “This is a truly momentous occasion for glass.
“We have set the standard globally with this trial and now the glass industry needs to work towards realising what we’ve proved is possible.
“We now know that glass can be the most sustainable of all packaging types and must all work together to ensure that happens.”