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Call for end-of-waste criteria for glass

Europe – According to the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), end-of-waste criteria should be drawn up for glass, specifying exactly when glass collected for recycling should stop being classed as waste.

Basing their findings on a recent study by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, the JRC believes the criteria could act as an incentive for choosing the most environmentally favourable option when possible.

The supply of a high quality and also legal certainty would create an even playing field, it is argued, and so the criteria would have the potential to help European companies remain competitive in an increasingly globalised world. In turn, this may stimulate an increase in glass recycling rates, as well as improving the image of glass as a highly recyclable material.

The recommended criteria only cover glass that is to be remelted in glass furnaces, excluding some poorer quality material from co-mingled collections, which is frequently reused as aggregate or in other single-use products like flooring tiles.

Additionally, the JRC suggests that glass from mixed municipal solid waste, healthcare waste and hazardous waste should not meet the criteria. However, ‘accidental collections’ of lead crystal glass and glass from television screens should be allowed. This would result in an estimated 80% of glass meeting the criteria after sorting and treatment, experts claim.

The draft end-of-waste criteria will be considered by a regulatory committee in May.

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