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Strategy for success

With its bread and butter now being regularly scoffed, WRAP is trying more exotic recipes to whet the appetite for glass recycling.

The market-development body pledged in its business plan last week to increase the amount of glass recycled into high-value products by 150,000 tonnes in 2006.

The container-manufacturing industry is happily eating as much clear glass waste as it can get hold of, leaving WRAP to concentrate on creating other markets.

This means the Government-funded organisation will have to find buyers for a lot of green, brown and flat (non-container) glass in the very near future. It intends to do this in the following five ways.

By promoting high-value markets for recycled glass with the greatest potential for growth

WRAP wants to promote uses for recycled glass where the glass adds value to the buyer rather than just fulfilling moral or legal obligations. It believes it has found such uses in purifying water and brick manufacturing.

Trials have shown the performance of recycled glass in water filtration is better than the sands being used, insists glass development manager Julian Cope. It is more expensive at the moment but we believe it is performing well enough to be competitive and save money.

And it is the right kind of glass. There is a property of green and brown glass that makes it suitable for this application, says Cope. There is a huge potential for this kind of glass to be used for water filtration.

Increasing the use of glass to make bricks is also on the agenda for WRAP this year, and this offers similar potential.

By exploiting its successful R&D to develop and implement the variety of applications we have tested

Both water filtration and brick manufacturing have been trialled as uses for recycled glass and proved to work. But WRAP wants to take this testing process up a level by conducting large-scale trials that will convince industry to buy the material.

We have successfully researched and developed water-filtration and brick manufacturing, and industry has been intimately involved, says Cope. But now we want to do more extensive trials to prove the benefits to potential buyers.

We are in discussions with a major brick manufacturer about doing a trial on a tunnel kiln. This would open up a massive market for glass recyclers. The overall potential market for glass in brick manufacture is 300,000 tonnes a year.

By developing markets for WEEE and ELV glass

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and the End-of-Life Vehicles Directives ensure more glass will have to be recovered in the coming years. WRAP wants to make sure that markets are available for as much as this as possible. The body recently published a report on the possible uses for cathode ray tubes from televisions and monitors, which include brick and tile manufacture. And it wants to make sure vehicle dismantlers have an incentive to recycle windscreens. As long as the glass is removed in not too contaminated a form, the market for it exists, says glass sector manager Andy Dawe.

By improving the sorting and processing infrastructure for flat glass

More than 90,000 tonnes of non-container glass are landfilled annually. The Building Research Establishment is carrying out four parallel projects for WRAP as the organisation tries to increase the recycling of this flat glass.

We have commissioned this work to look at various ways of collecting non-container glass such as windows, says Cope. This form of glass is good for making glass bead, which can be used in glass-fibre insulation for houses.

The important thing is to find out what the barriers are to collecting it as this is not high on the agenda at the moment. We cannot afford to sit and wait for Landfill Tax increases to force people to recycle windows.

By stimulating the collection of more glass for recycling

New markets are great, and show how much the parameters of glas

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