Brussels – The European Container Glass industry welcomes the long awaited European Commission’s package published yesterday, which paves the way for a real EU Circular Economy. The new recycling targets for glass packaging are ambitious but the industry is ready to take on the challenge with the right support in a level-playing field for all materials.
Glass holds a special place in the EU Circular Economy. It is a permanent material that is 100 percent and endlessly recycled without any degradation of its intrinsic properties, as long as it is separately collected and treated. According to the latest statistics, 73 percent of all post-consumer glass packaging in the EU is collected for recycling.
“Our industry is engaged in a real circular business model. We endlessly recycle glass bottles to produce new ones since 40 years, and by doing so we reduce environmental impacts, we create jobs, we reduce costs and grow our businesses. It is encouraging that the closed loop now becomes the model for the whole EU economy”, comments Vitaliano Torno – President of FEVE, the European Container Glass Federation. “The proposed recycling targets for glass packaging are challenging especially for those countries where a lot still needs to be done; more investment will be needed to develop glass recycling infrastructures.”
Closed loop production systems must be at the heart of the future EU circular economy. A strong partnership between the manufacturing industry and other important partners of the value chain such as national and local authorities, waste processors, EPR schemes and consumers, will be essential to ensure a successful transition. Public and private investments should be channeled to reduce waste, improve separate collection systems (i.e. bottle banks for glass) and foster research into the use of technology as well as behavioral science to engage the end-consumer.
“As there is almost 30 percent of glass that is not yet collected in the EU, our goal is to get this precious resource back in the bottle-to-bottle loop. With the help of national and EU authorities, collectors and processors, our ambition is to increase the quantities of good quality glass collected so that we can make our production system even more environment friendly”, adds Vitaliano Torno. „The European Container Glass industry looks forward to an open debate with policy makers on how to best achieve ambitious recycling targets and guarantee that the EU economy becomes more circular and more competitive.“