EU: glass cullet is no longer waste material

Thanks to criteria from the Joint Research Centre, glass cullet is no longer considered as waste in the European Union. The Regulation also identifies a number of conditions related to the quality of the resulting glass, to the residues which have been used in the process or the procedures and treatment techniques in place.

As of 31 December 2012, glass cullet is no longer considered as waste in the European Union, thus providing clarification about some of the main aspects for its recycling. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has drawn up criteria stating that glass cullet must comply with specifications or standards so that it can be used directly in the production of glass substances or objects by re-melting in glass manufacturing facilities.
The end-of-waste concept aims to stimulate European recycling markets by creating legal certainty, removing unnecessary administrative burden and releasing safe and clean secondary raw materials from the waste process. The JRC prepares the technical criteria that determine when a material recovered from waste ceases to be waste and can be dealt with as other products or raw materials.
The Regulation also identifies a number of conditions related to the quality of the resulting glass, to the residues which have been used in the process or the procedures and treatment techniques in place for that glass no longer be considered as a residue. These technical criteria have been defined by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), who determined the concentration limits for the amount of contaminants such as metals and organic substances present in glass cullet so that it can be considered a secondary raw material.
The technical criteria established by the JRC are expected to help to reduce the level of residues in the environment by improving the level of recycling. With all these actions, the Commission intends to act on the levels of waste generation, which, according to Eurostat, represents around 3 billion tons of waste generated annually in the European Union. It will contribute to assure a second life for bottles and other glass containers.