British Glass: action urged on color separation

British Glass has called for a co-ordinated effort to help ensure the environmental benefits of glass recycling are maximised. The appeal follows the release of figures showing that over 355,000 tonne…

British Glass has called for a co-ordinated effort to help ensure the environmental benefits of glass recycling are maximised. The appeal follows the release of figures showing that over 355,000 tonnes of glass were reprocessed or exported for reprocessing in the 1Q of 2006. Rebecca Cocking, British Glass recycling manager said: “Whilst the focus on growing tonnage is clearly succeeding, it is vitally important that we do not lose sight of the need to maximise the environmental benefit of glass recycling”. “Maximising the amount of color separated cullet going to the UK glass container industry delivers the biggest environmental benefit; last year alone glass recycling reduced UK carbon dioxide emissions by around 200,000 tonnes”. Despite the benefits of glass recycling the glass container industry believes that the growth of mixed collection is jeopardising its ability to further reduce emissions and save energy. Ms Cocking added: “The container sector could absorb much higher tonnages of glass, but such growth can only come from greater tonnages of clear and brown glass. The growth of mixed glass collection is reducing the availability of clear and brown glass as we have to color separate it before it can be recycled. This is costly and increases the amount of energy we have to use”. “It is vitally important for container manufacture that we halt the move to mixed collection and maximise the amount of glass that is collected color separated. This will ensure that the glass packaging industry will be able to maximise the amount of glass it recycles. And even with full color separation, the UK faces an enormous challenge in realising the potential environmental and social benefits of glass recycling. With growing levels of mixed collection, these potential benefits become much more uncertain”.