Glassmaker O-I believes the latest figures from the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) show that there is still huge untapped potential to improve the environment by recycling more glass across the continent
FEVE estimates an average glass recycling rate for the European Union of 68 percent in 2010, equating to some 25m used bottles and jars.
Of these, 80 percent were remelted to make new glass containers in the "closed loop" process, which is unique to the glass industry and which produces new containers time and time again with no degradation in quality.
O-I a glassmaker based in Europe. Viivika Remmel, marketing director for O-I Europe said: "In addition to reducing landfill waste, recycling glass enables immediate energy and carbon emissions savings. Every 10 percent of recycled glass used in production results in a reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 5 percent and energy savings of about 3 percent.
Although 68 percent is a strong performance across the EU as a whole, O-I says the task is not complete. In the UK, the glass recycling rate of 61 percent is slightly behind the curve.
O-I is particularly focused in this country on working with local authorities both to increase volumes collected and to maximise closed loop recycling of glass into new bottles and jars rather than diverting the material to less environmentally valuable uses.
"We want to encourage people to keep on recycling and to consider whether any of their glass containers still slip through into general waste. Glass is a very easy material to recycle as it does not require extensive reprocessing before being returned to the furnace," said Viivika.
O-I supports FEVE's work with the Association for Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+), which calls for additional support for separated waste collections to secure sufficient levels of high quality, uncontaminated recycled materials to build a circular economy.
Sustainability is one of the key attributes of glass packaging as highlighted by environmentalist Celine Cousteau and others in O-I's Glass Is Life campaign.