Update on Glass recycling and what it means for the industry
The latest study by British Glass reveals that the UK sees a loss of around 600,000 tonnes of glass each year to residual waste. Despite a commendable glass recycling rate of over 75%, there's still significant room for improvement. To address this, British Glass, in partnership with the climate action NGO WRAP, has devised a comprehensive strategy aimed at elevating the glass recycling capture rate to 90% by 2030. This initiative underscores the commitment to bolstering the UK's glass recycling endeavors, underscoring the importance of sustainability and the principles of a circular economy in the glass packaging sector, thereby facilitating a seamless closed loop recycling process. The strategy, encapsulated in the report 'A Roadmap to Closed Loop Glass Recycling', performs an in-depth examination of the UK's current glass recycling methodologies, leveraging the most recent data to pinpoint areas ripe for enhancement. Dr. Nick Kirk, Technical Director at British Glass, emphasized the critical nature of reaching a minimum of a 90% glass recycling capture rate for the sustainability of the glass industry. He advocates for the report's strategic approach as a guide for the glass supply chain stakeholders towards achieving this goal, provided the recommendations are acted upon. The strategy advocates for a move away from mixing different materials in recycling to separate glass collections, which is crucial for improving the quality of recycled glass cullet. It also suggests reducing the frequency and capacity of residual waste collections to encourage recycling behavior among consumers. The strategy points to the success of separate collection schemes, like the Welsh Collections Blueprint, which have led to Wales boasting one of the highest glass recycling rates in Europe—92% of household glass being recycled. It also stresses the importance of awareness campaigns to educate both consumers and businesses on the benefits of glass recycling.