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EU glass recycling hits record level

Glass recycling

The average glass recycling rate across the EU has reached its highest ever level, 74%, according to data published by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).

Figures for 2014 show it is one percentage point higher than the previous year, while the tonnage collected increased by 3.5%.

However, some 26% of glass bottles and jars were sent to landfill in 2014.

The UK achieved 67% glass packaging recycling, one percentage point lower than in 2013, but is still well ahead of its 60% EU target for 2020.

Higher performers such as Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Slovenia continued to perform strongly, while other good performing countries including Austria and Denmark recorded a slight decrease in recycling.

Worse performing countries Spain and Bulgaria showed a steady increase while Romania, Cyprus, Slovak Republic and Greece continued to struggle.

FEVE secretary general Adeline Farrelly said the data showed the need for targeted investments in infrastructure and communications. She said this should be sent to both higher and lower performing countries.

Farrelly called for EU measures to support the recycling of “permanent materials” such as glass and metals that can be infinitely recycled without losing their quality.

“The EU waste legislation currently under review in the circular economy package should incentivise permanent materials that can be infinitely recycled without losing their properties,” she said.

“As an industry, we would like to have more recycled glass, provided that it is of high quality and is economically viable.

“We believe that acknowledging the superior status of permanent materials in, for example extended producer responsibility schemes, will incentivise the market to use permanent materials that can deliver real closed loop recycling.”

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