Speaking at a strategic workshop held by British Glass and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), head of Defra’s producer responsibility unit, Sheila McKinley stated that the glass industry had an important role to play in helping the UK meet targets set under the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

The growing taste for wine was a large contributing factor to the increase in glass waste produced in the UK, according to British Glass. Their figures showed that around 1.3 million bottles of wine were imported each year, which weighed in at an estimated 600,000 tonnes of mainly green glass.

Glass is particularly useful for reuse in the construction industry, and WRAP revealed evidence of successful case studies in which glass was used as a fluxing agent in brick manufacture. In other projects, glass had also been reused as an aggregate in ‘Glassphalt’, a road base product that, according to WRAP, has seen considerable market uptake recently.

Spokesman for WRAP Andy Dawe said that the key priority at this time was to ensure that commercially viable end markets were available to support the reuse of glass, in particular green glass which is more difficult to recycle, and that the right type of glass was readily available to reach the relevant markets.

“The primary objective of WRAP is to develop new, sustainable markets for recycled materials,” Mr Dawe stated. “In the case of glass, new markets are now completing their development stage and have the capacity to absorb significant future tonnages.”

“We need to ensure that the development of these markets works to maximise the amount of glass that the UK recycles.”

By Jane Kettle

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