Increase in glass recycling welcomed

New European figures show that in 1999 glass recycling continued to gain popularity in the UK and across the continent.

Figures from the European packaging glass industry association, FEVE, which are yet to be officially released, showed that the amount of container glass collected for recycling in 1999, in all EU countries except Luxembourg, but including non-EU states Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, was 8.4million tonnes, up 4.6% from 1998’s total.

This increase has set a new record for glass collection: The UK’s total at 499,000 tonnes was by no means the largest, but represented a respectable increase of 23,000 tonnes over 1998’s figure.

“We believe that the total amount of glass recycled in the UK has continued to increase because of three factors,” a British Glass Manufacturers Confederation spokesperson told edie on 11 August. “The public has become more and more conscious of environmental issues, glass is ideally suited to recycling because it does not lose its quality, and throughout the last year the British Glass Industry has run a successful ‘Don’t bin it, bank it’ advertising campaign,” he said.

However, British glass manufacturers are worried that further increases in recycling may not be sustainable for two reasons. The income of Packaging Recovery Notes, which is a kind of currency used by manufacturers to buy back glass for recycling, continues to fall drastically, dropping by 47% last year from 1998’s total. Another reason is that UK production capacity is insufficient to make use of the amount of green wine and beer bottles imported.

The total amount of glass recycled Europe-wide increased in every country surveyed, except in Austria, Norway and Turkey, which registered small declines, and Greece and Denmark, which remained static. Germany is by far Europe’s biggest recycler accounting for a third of the continent’s total, followed by France and Italy.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie