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European Union aims for 85% glass recycling rate

, Glass International

New European glass recycling targets have been announced as part of a wider Circular Economy package, which has been put forward by the European Commission.

The EU wide recycling targets for glass packaging have been set at 75% by 2025, and 85% by 2030.

The target set for the recycling of plastics, however, is significantly lower: 55% by 2025, and with no specified target for 2030.

The Circular Economy package, published today, has been welcomed by FEVE, the European container glass manufacturers’ association.

FEVE described the European Commission’s package as ‘long awaited’, noting that it paves the way for a real EU Circular Economy.

It stated that the new recycling targets for glass packaging are ambitious, but that the industry is ready to take on the challenge with the right support in a level-playing field for all materials.

Glass is a permanent material that can be 100% and endlessly recycled without any degradation of its intrinsic properties, so long as it is separately collected and treated.

According to the latest statistics, an average of 73% of all post-consumer glass packaging in the EU is already collected for recycling.

“It is encouraging that the closed loop now becomes the model for the whole EU economy”, commented Vitaliano Torno, President of FEVE and Managing Director of O-I Europe.

“The proposed recycling targets for glass packaging are challenging, especially for those countries where a lot still needs to be done; more investment will be needed to develop glass recycling infrastructures.”

FEVE believes that closed loop production systems must be at the heart of the future EU circular economy.

This means a strong partnership between the manufacturing industry and other important partners of the value chain such as national and local authorities, waste processors, EPR schemes and consumers, will be essential to ensure a successful transition.

Furthermore, public and private investments should be channeled to reduce waste, improve separate collection systems (i.e. bottle banks for glass) and foster research into the use of technology as well as behavioral science to engage the end-consumer.

“As there is almost 30% of glass that is not yet collected in the EU, our goal is to get this precious resource back in the bottle-to-bottle loop.

“With the help of national and EU authorities, collectors and processors, our ambition is to increase the quantities of good quality glass collected so that we can make our production system even more environment friendly”, added Mr. Torno.

FEVE, speaking on behalf of the European container glass industry, stated that it looks forward to an open debate with policy makers on how to best achieve ambitious recycling targets and guarantee that the EU economy becomes more circular and more competitive.

 

, Glass International

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