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Glass market stability prompts call for commingled rethink

Relative price stability in the recycled glass market could prompt a re-evaluation of local authority commingled collections.

While other materials have experienced instability or dramatic price drops, glass has changed very little. The materials prices and tonnage security could be an attractive factor for cash strapped councils currently examining the impact of collection costs on their budgets.

O-I recycling development manager Martin Langshaw said: Prices paid by the glass packaging industry for colour separated cullet remain very stable, as reflected each week in the pages of MRW. They have fluctuated by no more than a pound or two for the past two years and provide a market of value for recyclers.

According to Langshaw this offers councils and contractors the security of a long term contract with guaranteed tonnages and prices.

The collapse of markets for other materials may prompt local authorities to re-evaluate the drift towards commingled collections, he said. [Commingled collections have] cut many authorities off from the good revenue stream they could obtain selling glass to the packaging industry.

Glass bottles and jars are the ultimate closed loop recyclables and local authorities also stand to benefit in the eyes of their residents by returning the material to be remelted into new containers.

Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee spokeswoman Joy Blizzard commented: Any local authority will always look at whats happening [in the industry and market] and respond accordingly. Prices go up as well as down and local authorities try to plan for the unknown and are willing to be flexible. [Collection reorganisations are not unusual] because as other new materials come into the arena, they often rejig their collections to reflect that.

Image: O-I recycling development manager Martin Langshaw


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