Concerns about the future of UK closed loop glass recycling have been raised following analysis of the National Packaging Waste Database 2007 figures.
According to British Glass, they reveal a drop in closed loop glass recycling from 2006. It said there was a growing trend towards a decrease in container-ready cullet needed for such recycling.
In 2007, cullet for bottle recycling decreased by 56,000 tonnes from 2006 despite a significant increase in the amounts of glass extracted for recycling and a 46,000 tonne increase in glass production in 2006. UK exports of cullet for bottle manufacture to other EU states also increased in 2007.
British Glass recycling manager Rebecca Cocking said that commingled collections are behind the decrease in suitable cullet because the glass is often colour mixed and compacted, which can make it unsuitable for closed loop processing. Drivers such as the Landfill Directive and UK Government recycling targets are pushing local authorities towards commingled collections.
However, Cocking said: The evidence proves that closed loop recycling of glass delivers the greatest environmental benefit in terms of reducing raw material use, energy consumption and emissions. The UK glass industry is anxious that this growing trend will have a radical impact on other current and future legislative drivers.
We are not just focussing on packaging regulations but we also have climate change to consider. Our members are looking at future targets and reducing CO2 and they do factor in the use of cullet. But although were heading towards the CO2 target, we are losing the cullet material that we need to be able to do this.
She said that the trend towards closed loop decline is unlikely to change without legislative intervention.
The issue was raised on the BBC breakfast programme, to see the clip click here