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Glass supply chain pledges greater recycling in Europe

Key elements of the glass supply chain in Europe have come together to launch a series of initiatives to boost the bottle-to-bottle recycling rate to 90% by the end of the decade.

The action plan, known as ‘Close the Glass Loop’, aims to address structural challenges in the glass collection and recycling chain seen as being common to most European countries. With municipalities considered vital in mobilising collections, a strong partnership with local authorities is being sought to expand source-separated glass collection, improve glass collection in large cities and tourist areas and ensure that use, collection and recycling of glass containers is better supported by common guidelines and tools.

Individual action points range from organising roadshows and best-practice workshops to supporting pilot projects in densely populated or tourist destinations. Developing a roadmap for cullet quality and reinforcing cooperation between national stakeholders are other key goals.

Glass is promoted within the industry as an infinitely recyclable packaging material with a collection for recycling rate of 76%. ‘Close the Glass Loop’ is public-private partnership that aims to boost glass collection rates to 90% by 2030. The initiative gathers 12 European federations representing glass manufacturers, processors, brands, packaging recovery organisations and municipalities (see final paragraph).

The platform was launched by Michel Giannuzzi, president of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) at an online event with participants from the founding partners and representatives of the UK and 10 EU member states.

Giannuzzi said glass was already a success story in terms of sustainability. ‘The more we recycle glass, the less we litter or rely on virgin resources, while also providing premium packaging in terms of quality preservation, health and safety. We need to fully seize the advantages offered by glass and recycle more and better. And to this end, we need the active commitment of the whole value chain.’

Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, sent a video message. ‘Glass is a great example of a circular material,’ he said. ‘You are already achieving outstanding results in waste collection and recycling. But today you show that you want to do more, that you are determined to bring levels up across the EU and seek the room for improvement all along the chain.’

As well as FEVE, other partners in the new platform are the European Federation of Glass Recyclers (FERVER), Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV), European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW), SpiritsEurope, Soft Drinks Europe (UNESDA), Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance (EXPRA), Producer Responsibility organisations Packaging Aliance (PROsPA), ACR+, Eurocities, Municipal Waste Europe, European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) and the European Association of Food and Vegetable Processors (PROFEL).

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