Potentially infinitely reusable and 100% recyclable, glass is the perfect circular material. And in fact, its collection for recycling rate in the European Union stands at 76%. But more can be done and aim for the perfect circle. For this reason, glass collection and recycling stakeholders launched the major material stewardship programme "Close the Glass Loop", a bottom-up, collaborative, public-private partnership that aims to boost glass collection rates to 90% by 2030.
The glass network
The platform, promoted by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), was launched on June 30th with the warm welcome of European Commissioner in charge of the Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Virginijus Sinkevičius. Joining the online event through video message, Sinkevičius commented: “Glass is a great example of a circular material. 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. I am confident that you will complete your mission and make the Close the Glass Loop Platform the springboard to the higher levels of the waste hierarchy.”
The European founding partners are the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), 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 Alliance (PROsPA, represented by CITEO), ACR+, Eurocities, Municipal Waste Europe, European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) and European Association of Food and Vegetable Processors (PROFEL).
All the European federations representing glass producers, processors, packaging recovery organizations and municipalities are also part of the platform and all national partners are involved in each EU Member State.
An action plan to boost glass collection and recycling
The European action plan presented by FEVE aims to address the structural challenges of the glass supply chain by widely mobilizing local partners. From this point of view, the Municipalities will be the key players in the system, indispensable for establishing collaborations with authorities and organizations in the area. The objectives are the expansion and improvement of the glass collection both in large cities and in tourist areas, ensuring common guidelines and tools for all phases of use, collection and recycling of the material.
Setting out the Action Plan, Michel Giannuzzi, President of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), noted: “We have the advantage of working with a material that is 100% and infinitely circular by nature and 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. Today, 76% of glass packaging in the EU market is collected for recycling – but there is more to be done. 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. The level of engagement in ‘Close the Glass Loop’ to date lays really promising grounds for success and I am very much looking forward to the positive impact it will create over time.”