Dedicated glass collections are the only way to boost the recycling rate of bottles and jars, a key body has insisted.
The Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and Sustainable Resource Management called for support across Europe for separate waste collection schemes.
Its report, Good practices in collection and closed-loop glass recycling in Europe, said closed-loop recycling was critical to the future of glass recovery as it meant fewer raw materials were extracted, less waste was generated and less energy was used.
Only pure glass collections would yield the quantity and quality of cullet needed for bottle-to-bottle recycling, the body said.
After a comprehensive assessment of European collection schemes, the study identified eight key initiatives, including bottle banks with colour separation.
The study also recommended more and clearer communication to the public about the benefits of closed-loop glass recycling.
The European Container Glass Federation commissioned the report.
Secretary-general Adeline Farrelly said: “Last year, more than 25bn bottles and jars were collected in Europe, and well over 80% was recycled in a bottle-to-bottle production system.
“The better the quality of the glass collected the more we can recycle in a bottle-to-bottle system. This type of glass recycling is not only a local industry but also brings major economic and environmental benefits.
“We strongly support the findings of this timely study which underpins the importance given to recycling in the EU’s waste hierarchy.”
Viridor this month revealed plans to spend £6m on “world-leading” glass recycling facilities at its Bonnyrigg site in Scotland.
The company claimed the ‘next generation’ infrastructure would be one of only three of its type in the world, joining similar facilities in France and Australia.
Richard Lochhead MSP, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, said: “Closed loop recycling – glass going back to glass – reduces our consumption of raw materials and helps reduce carbon emission.”