Thanks to an investment of EUR 17 million in leading edge closed loop recycling technology, over 10% of post-consumer waste glass collected in Italy can now be remelted into new glass containers.
The formal opening of the manufacturing plant of Vetreco S.r.l. took place on 12 October. The company was established in 2010 as a joint enterprise between leading international glass container manufacturers: Verallia and Saint-Gobain Vetri S.p.A., Zignago Vetro S.p.A. and Ardagh Group Italy S.r.l.
Vetreco reprocesses raw glass cullet, collected through the various schemes operated by the municipalities and managed by Co.Re.Ve. (Consortium for Glass Retrieval) into high quality finished cullet suitable for remelt by glass container manufacturers.
The 17-million euro plant in Supino has a current production capacity of about 200,000 annual tons, which is equivalent to about 10% of the annual cullet recycled in Italy. Using technology at the forefront of glass recycling in Europe, the company is able to reprocess cullet to the highest standards of colour separation to yield the highest quality of finished cullet.
This is a step change from the current situation in Italy, where the glass container industry is supplied with mixed cullet batches for use in its furnaces, which is suitable only for the production of green containers, or, partially, coloured flint glass. This new investment made by Vetreco will now secure the supply of clear/ flint cullet, and as a result lead to significantly higher recycling rates that will benefit both the industry and the environment.
Owing to this investment we can now announce that from today, 70% of all the glass containers produced in Italy will be made from recycled glass. Furthermore, producing a bottle with only recycled cullet uses approximately 10% less melting energy compared with the equivalent container that uses virgin raw materials (sand, soda, etc.).
Roberto Celot, Chairman of Vetreco, stated: “Vetreco is a manufacturing asset that will immediately add value e, now and in the future, to Italy’s glass factories and for our environment. Glass is a recyclable material, 100% and endlessly. This means that we can obtain a new glass bottle from one recovered and recycled, without further use of raw materials. For this reason we have chosen as the theme for this celebratory event ‘glass comes back to be glass’. I believe we can be proud to have created one of the biggest assets of this sector in Italy. A special thanks to members for having made this project a success and to all people that have dedicated their time, enthusiasm and effort to over the past few years to make it a reality.”
Vetreco has chosen Supino, in the province of Frosinone, as a central location in an area where future glass collection is expected to increase. Italy is now very well positioned within the European infrastructure of glass collection, with a total collection rate in 2012 of 71%. There is still however a disparity between the North, with an annual collection of 40 kg per capita and Centre and South, with 23 and 16 kg per capita respectively. Therefore the biggest impact from this facility is expected to be achieved in the Centre and the South, where 2012 studies suggest rates, higher than national average can be achieved.
Glass cullet usage will bring many benefits to glass container production and the broader supply chain thanks to the foresight of the three founding companies of Vetreco:
- lower dependence on virgin raw material supplies, that is sand and soda;
- reduction of energy consumption, quantifiable in about 2.5% every 10% of additional quantity of cullet put into furnaces;
- reduction in CO2 emissions.
Franco Grisan, Chairman of Co.Re.Ve., said at the opening: “Glass recycling has been making progress in the Centre and South of the country for a number of years, and this development will provide a further boost for our country, for the glass industry and for the municipal’ administrators of such Regions.
“We now have in place the essential elements of a successful glass recycling system in Italy – a source of high quality raw cullet available from a well located modern plant.”