Encirc and Glass Futures partner for 'most sustainable glass bottle' trials

Encirc and Glass Futures have joined forces to hold trials to create the world's most sustainable glass bottle

British Glass member Encirc has partnered with Glass Futures for a ground-breaking project to create the world’s most sustainable glass bottle.

From early 2021, one of the furnaces at Encirc’s Derrylin plant will be using biofuel in a bid to pave the way for a reduction in CO2 emissions across the industry.

Made out of plant materials, biofuel is a renewable and much more sustainable fuel source than those traditionally used by the glass sector and is thought to be able to reduce carbon emissions by up to 90% when compared to fossil fuels. As well as using biofuel, Encirc will also be using up to 96% recycled glass to create the bottles.

The trial at Derrylin will be a world first with the results feeding into the UK government’s policy around decarbonisation. The project forms part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Energy Innovation Programme, within which Glass Futures is leading a £7.1m project to help determine the most effective route to switch the glass sector to low carbon fuels.

British Glass CEO Dave Dalton said:

“This is a very exciting time and a significant step for our industry on the path towards decarbonisation by 2050. A trial such as this has the potential to enact positive change across the whole of our industry if it is successful and it is great to see all the hard work that has gone into setting up this project paying off.

 “We’re delighted that the first trial of its kind is being undertaken by one of our members in Encirc and Glass Futures with significant support from BEIS."

Fiacre O’Donnell, Director of Sustainability, Vidrala (Encirc’s parent company), said:

“Bio-fuel is just one part of the decarbonisation puzzle, but an incredibly important and exciting one. We’re also looking into the development of hydrogen, and advancements in electric melting to truly discover the future of glass production. We’ve already seen a huge level of interest from beverage suppliers in attaining the ultra-low-CO2 containers we’ll be making during the trial, which further suggests how united the industry is our quest for total sustainability.

“Glass is already a wonder material in terms of sustainability, able to be recycled a limitless number of times, without losing any quality. However, as with any manufacturing process, it is still an energy-intensive sector. By working with Glass Futures, we can help pioneer the development of a glass bottle which will truly have no negative impact on the environment.”

Aston Fuller, General Manager of Glass Futures, said:

“We are proud to be a part of a trial that both BEIS and Encirc have made possible, Encirc has taken a pragmatic approach and is pushing the innovation boundaries with a full-scale trial of a new alternative fuel. It is great to see the whole supply chain collaborate to explore what is possible within the industry.

“While the UK glass sector has made progress by more than halving its emissions over the past 50 years, it is vital we work together to advance towards the net zero carbon goal.”