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Recycled glass has promising future

Key industry decision makers have been told that the market for recycled glass products is growing and the future looks promising.

At the annual GlassAction meeting in Barnsley, attended by over 100 industry professionals, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) officials reported on a number of industrial-scale trials in sectors such as brick and tile manufacture, filtration, grit blasting, sports turf and cementitious products.

Tests have demonstrated the commercial viability of recycled glass compared to traditional materials, such as sand, which is often not renewable.

WRAP materials sector manager for glass Andy Dawe said: “These trials have highlighted the many different benefits recycled glass can offer British industry. By demonstrating the advantages of using it, we have provided a good business case, which UK companies will find hard to ignore.”

Delegates heard of the benefits of recycled glass for preparing metal surfaces for paint and coatings, its effectiveness at removing suspended solids from effluent and its suitability as an alternative to silica sand in mortar and tile adhesive products.

Other research showed its potential as a replacement for primary aggregates; with Fife-based manufacturer Brand & Rae now offering a concrete block containing 30% recycled glass as part of its standard product range.

Brand & Rae managing director Gary Bell said: “This application is a highly effective way of reusing stocks of mixed colour glass, which the container industry cannot accommodate.

“We’re committed to producing and marketing concrete blocks containing recycled glass and believe more material needs to be made available for this application. We could potentially use as much as 65,000 tonnes per annum.”

With UK wine consumption growing and estimated to produce 1,100,000 tonnes of glass waste a year by 2008, the need for adequate markets is pressing.

British Glass director general David Workman said: “We’re delighted at the success of this year’s event. The extensive work that WRAP is undertaking to promote the glass industry will lead to big improvements in recycling rates in the UK and we now need to strengthen the supply chain to accommodate future growth in demand.

“The industry is united behind this aim and I’m confident GlassAction day will prove a highly effective way of bringing together all the interested parties to discuss the barriers and issues, as it will lead to positive actions.”

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