Cooperating to close the loop on glass recycling

Representatives from each stage of the glass packaging life cycle joined a workshop – run by British Glass – to examine what can be done to get more glass packaging recycled back to glass.

Increasing the quantity and quality of waste glass (cullet) for re-melt into new products is a priority for British Glass and its members as part of the industries commitment to reduce energy use and CO2 emissions. Increasing the recycled content of bottles and jars also helps brands and retailers meet their sustainability goals, and creates a circular economy.

But each year a large proportion of recyclable glass is lost to landfill or used as aggregate, and changing this will need the whole supply chain to work together.

The Close the loop workshop – the first in what will be a series of cross-supply chain events brought together representatives from retail, waste management, recycling and glass manufacturing. Participants included Marks & Spencer, Co-op, IPL, local authorities, a variety of waste collection and recycling companies and policy makers.

Led by Edward Kellow - who has facilitated work on a range of high-profile, sustainable business policy initiatives - centred the workshop around information sharing, so everyone could take away insights about what happens in the glass recycling loop before and after their particular area of focus.

The day revealed a need for more easy-to-access, evidence-based information about glass packaging and recycling for professionals working at different stages - from packaging designers to waste managers.

Gareth Jones, operations director, British Glass said:

“British Glass is determined to make sure more post-consumer glass waste gets back into glass furnaces. Thanks to all the excellent contributions on the day, everyone was able to learn something new about how and what is needed to make that possible.

“We’re delighted at how committed brands such as Marks & Spencer are to packaging sustainability.

“The outputs from this workshop will shape British Glass’ forward agenda on container glass recycling, and we’ll be looking for more industry involvement as work progresses. One thing the workshop really made clear is that we all need to understand how changes affect others around the loop. None of us can do this alone.”

Notes

Anyone working with glass packaging as a brand, packer/filler, retailer, waste processor, collector or manufacturer can get involved by visiting www.britglass.org.uk/closetheloop to find out more.

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