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British Glass calls for end to mixed glass collections

British Glass has called for the UK to make a co-ordinated effort in ensuring that 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 first quarter of 2006.

British Glass recycling manager Rebecca Cocking said: “While 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 colour-separated cullet going to the UK glass container industry delivers the biggest environmental benefit. Last year alone, glass recycling reduced UK CO2 emissions by around 200,000 tonnes.”

But despite the benefits, the glass container industry believes the growth of mixed collections is jeopardising its ability to further reduce emissions and save energy.

Cocking added: “The container sector could absorb much higher tonnages of glass, but such growth can only come from the greater tonnages of clear and brown glass.

“The growth of mixed glass collections is reducing the availability of clear and brown glass as we have to colour separate glass before it can be recycled. This is costly and increases the amount of energy we have to use.”

She believes that it is vitally important for container manufacturers that we halt the move to mixed collections.

“Even with full colour 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,” Cocking concluded.

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