A clearer picture of glass recycling

Comprehensive information on the current and potential recycling opportunities for recovered glass is now available in a major report commissioned and published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The report, which will be used to inform WRAP’s future work to create stable and efficient markets for recycled glass, analyses the current market situation and recycling infrastructure and assesses the potential opportunities for increasing the amount of recycled material used in the future.

Recycling target

With the current review of the EU Packaging Waste Directive proposing a material specific recycling target of 60 per cent for glass by 2006, the UK will need to improve its performance, but the report identifies substantial barriers to increasing recycling levels for the two types of glass which dominate recycling in the UK: container glass and flat glass.

The report identifies and analyses the most promising new markets for mixed recycled glass, including its use as a secondary aggregate in general fill, road construction and concrete production applications, for water filtration and in glass fibre insulation manufacture. To underpin these alternative markets, the report recommends that WRAP supports the development of standards for the use of glass in these applications, and encourages efforts to gain regulatory approval for the use of recovered glass in high value, high performance applications.

For flat glass, the report emphasises the need for more accurate data on waste flat glass and WRAP has already taken action on this front by approving over £370,000 of funding for two R&D projects by the Building Research Establishment and the Steel Construction Institute.

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