The average glass recycling rate has hit 74 per cent for the first time in the EU, according to the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE).
FEVE has published the average glass recycling rate in the EU28 zone, which shows that over 11.6 million tonnes of glass was collected throughout the European Union in 2014. This is an increase of 3.5 per cent from the previous year.
The UK has dropped by 1 per cent from 2013, achieving 67 per cent glass packaging recycling. This is one percentage point lower than in 2013, but is still shown to be well ahead of the EU target of 60 per cent for 2020.
Countries such as Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Slovenia continue to outperform in glass recycling. Others such as Austria and Denmark have recorded a slight decrease in recycling despite a positive consumption trend. In the Czech Republic, Finland and The Netherlands the downward trend was on a par with shrinking consumption. In Spain and Bulgaria, some of the worse performing countries, glass recycling is steadily increasing but there is a gap to fill. This is even more important in Romania, Cyprus, Slovak Republic and Greece, whose glass recycling figures continue to struggle.
FEVE states that the statistics show glass to be one of the most closed loop recycled food and drink packaging in the EU and across the world. However, some 26 per cent of glass bottles and jars are still being sent to landfills in Europe.
Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary Generalm said of the data: “The EU waste legislation currently under review in the EU Circular Economy Package should incentivize permanent materials that can be infinitely recycled without losing their properties. 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 (EPR) schemes, will incentivize the market to use permanent materials that can deliver real closed loop recycling.”