By Akhil Nair
Glass is a versatile material. It is the most common part of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). However, it does not decompose, and thus, it becomes imperative to recycle it. Besides, it is almost 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without losing its purity or quality. Recycled glass helps reduce water and air pollution by 50% and 20%, respectively, over making new glass. Accordingly, as per Inkwood Research, the benefits of recycled glass for the environment and the growing sustainability awareness propel the global recycled glass market growth at a revenue CAGR of 4.76%.
One of the key benefits of recycled glass or glass recycling is the reduced energy demand. Every ton of recycled glass saves more than a ton of raw materials required to create new glass. These include 380 pounds of limestone, 410 pounds of soda ash, and 1300 pounds of sand. Besides, 80% of recycled glass ends up as new glass containers. Thus, recycled glass is an ideal production option in a 21st-century circular economy. Particularly, with the world’s continuous search for ways to minimize carbon emissions, recycling is evaluated as intrinsic to a circular economy.
Recycled Glass: Europe projects Lucrative Growth Prospects
As per our evaluation, Europe is the most promising region in the global recycled glass market in terms of revenue share and CAGR with regard to both revenue and volume. It is set to record a revenue share of 41.82% and a CAGR of 5.01% by 2030.
Here’s why –
Glass Container has a 76% Collection Rate in Europe
As per the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE)’s industry data, the EU-28 average collection for glass packaging/container projected a record rate of 76% in 2017. The leading countries were Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, and Sweden, with more than 90% glass collection rates, while Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, and Germany trailed behind with over 80% collection rates.
A majority of the 30 billion collected containers are sent to one of the 160 plants in Europe, making the glass packaging manufacturing industry a well-functioning circular economy. Additionally, glass recycling is a means of sustenance in the European Union (EU), maintaining 125,000 stable and local jobs. At the same time, FEVE states that more is required in countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, and the United Kingdom, with each country needing its own focused and tailored strategy for enhanced recycling.
Besides, used glass is the central resource for bottle-to-bottle production. It offers major economic, social, and environmental benefits for the value chain. Also, glass recycling enables the container glass industry to drastically minimize its environmental footprint by saving raw materials and energy.
The leading market players in the Europe recycled glass market are Daniel Rosas SA, Everglass, Glass Recycling (UK) Ltd, etc.
European Union’s ‘Close the Glass Loop’ Campaign
Europe’s glass container manufacturing industry’s ‘Close the Glass Loop’ program is an industry-wide initiative to boost EU glass ‘collection for recycling’ rates to 90% by 2030. This is in line with the new EU rules to raise the recycling rate of glass packaging to 75% by 2030.
It aims to bring together different glass collection and recycling stakeholders under one European platform. The objectives include enhancing the quality of recycled glass (cullet) and closing the collection gap so that the resources are conducive in a bottle-to-bottle manufacturing loop.
The modern glass-making industry has built its supply chain around the recycled glass used to make new glass containers, propelling the demand for cullet. In addition, if 10% of natural raw materials are replaced by recycled glass cullet, it reduces the energy consumption of the glass production process by 3%. As per our findings, cullet is the fastest-growing and largest revenue-generating product in the global recycled glass market, set to project a revenue CAGR of 4.86% and volume CAGR of 3.90%.
Cullet is one of the four ingredients used in the glass-making process. The other three are soda ash, limestone, and sand. Also, as per FEVE, the more availability of good quality cullet means a more resource-efficient production process. As a result, it makes for a premium level, safe, and truly recycled packaging material.
Sweden & Germany: Europe’s Model Countries for Glass Recycling
Sweden is considered a model country for glass recycling, recording more than 95% recycling rates in recent years. In particular, in 2017, 21.5 kg of glass was recycled per inhabitant. Also, the country has a concentrated network of 5000 collecting stations. Colored glass and white glass are collected separately. Additionally, the collection of glass is vastly accepted by the population.
Moreover, the glass collection and recycling in the country are managed by the Swedish Glass Recycling Organization, a member of the Swedish Packaging Federation (FTI). However, the country has only one glass processing plant in Hammar.
In Germany, as per the ‘recovery – Recycling Technology Worldwide’ trade magazine, around 1.88 Mta of container glass was collected from private households alone in 2015. Also, as per the same source, the present collection infrastructure entails approximately 300000 waste glass containers.
Furthermore, the main input quantity for recycling waste glass comes from the dual waste collection systems. Besides, waste glass is the most important raw material for new glass packaging in Germany. Moreover, glass recycling is the chief ‘supplier’ for new glass production.
What’s Next for Europe?
The increasing use of recycled glass and its energy-saving potential could become a cost-effective solution that supplements industrial rivalry in Europe, especially when flat glass manufacturers face high energy costs. Also, the increased share of recycled glass use in flat glass manufacturing can help save primary raw materials and avoid CO2 emissions. As per our analysis, flat glass is the fastest-growing application in the global recycled glass market, recording a revenue CAGR of 5.56%.
The recycled glass market in Europe is booming, aided by the improved concepts of glass collection containers. Moreover, the steady upward trend in the region is augmented by the rising environmental awareness and the continual efforts to improve glass recycling collection schemes by the European governments and the European Commission.
Which is the fastest-growing country in the Europe recycled glass market?
France is the fastest-growing country in the Europe recycled glass market.
Which is the largest application in the global recycled glass market?
Bottles & Containers are the largest application in the global recycled glass market.