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WRAP looks to boost recycled glass content

New research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme shows that consumers are as likely to buy products in jars and bottles made with mixed colour recycled glass as they are to purchase items in clear glass packaging.

hopes that this finding will boost demand for containers with high recycled content.
It partnered with supermarket giant Sainsburys to determine if consumers would accept packaging with a slightly green hue in place of a clear glass one.

WRAP market development director Marcus Gover said the study should give retailers more confidence to use more recycled glass in the knowledge it will not adversely affect sales.

This is good news for the recycling industry as it could help to stimulate a high value market for mixed colour recycled glass in the UK. This in turn may provide the impetus to divert more of this glass away from landfill and secondary markets and into closed loop recycling.

The study compared participants perceptions of a range of common products from mayonnaise to wines and spirits. It found that mayonnaise was the only product that consumers preferred in a clear glass container.

Sainsburys grocery packaging technologist Paula Chin said: Sainsburys has an ongoing commitment to reduce the amount of packaging we use, to increase recyclability of that packaging and increase the level of recycled content. Glass is a significant portion of total retail packaging weight so any glass-related initiative is of interest to us. But ultimately its all about getting the customer offer right and if our customers are interested, we are interested.

WRAP is currently tendering for a large scale trial to manufacture containers with a mixed colour recycled glass content over 90 per cent. The project will include sourcing mixed colour recycled glass, processing this material to a standard sufficient for the re-melt market, and manufacturing fit-for-purpose, glass containers with high recycled content.

The intention of this work is to stimulate a market in the UK for glass currently collected in mixed colour format, so that glass processors view it as an attractive processing option for container manufacture markets.

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