FEVE event – #EU Circular Economy: It’s Time for Waste

Brussels, 19 June 2013, 16h00 CET

Closed loop recycling for glass packaging: a must for a resource efficient
Europe; higher recycling targets welcome but in a level playing field

The  above  144  character  tweet  sums  up  the  key  conclusions  drawn  in  the  debate  “Circular  economy: a waste of time or time for waste?” hosted by FEVE -­‐ the European Container Glass Federation.    A  panel  discussion  closed  the  loop  of  an  event  where  container  glass  industry  representatives, European Parliament and European Commission delegates as well as thought leaders from the Wuppertal Institute and Mc Kinsey tried to answer to the debate’s question. And the answer is clear: time has come to dramatically turn waste into valuable resources as a key pillar of a competitive EU circular economy.

Major  efforts  have  been  made  already  in  implementing  the  EU  2020  strategy  –  argued  EU  policy makers -­‐ but efforts by all stakeholders are needed to ensure that the “circular economy” is not reduced to a trendy social media hash tag, but actually becomes the mindset that  informs  all  European  and  global  business  models.  This  is  a  major  opportunity  for  the  European economy to get out of deep water.

The transition to a circular economy is a major opportunity for Europe to strengthen and to enroot competitiveness – commented Vittorio Prodi, Member of the European Parliament with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats -­‐ Measures need to be taken to support industries  which  have  made  strides  in  recycling  waste  as  a  precious  resource  –  such  as  the  container glass sector – and to encourage them to continue to produce in Europe. The manufacturing sector is the economic powerhouse of the EU, and the waste treatment itself can create new business opportunities and new jobs. In such a difficult time for the economy, the EU can’t afford to miss such opportunities. On the contrary we need to be the frontrunners.

The  industry  encouraged  the  European  Commission  to  develop  a  more-­‐friendly  legislative  framework that would acknowledge the superiority of materials which, once produced, become permanent resources to be reused infinitely to generate new products, without any quality  loss.  Structural,  long  term  measures  could  be  taken,  which  promote  effective  and  closed loop recycling over other waste management practices where the resources are down-­‐cycled, burnt or destined to landfills.

Looking  at  the  container  glass  industry,  more  recycled  glass  bottles  mean  more  precious  resources for new production, less environmental impacts, less costs, more local direct and indirect  jobs.  More  than  70%  of  used  glass  bottles  are  today  recycled  and  the  industry’s  ambition is to capture inside the production loop the missing 30% (2).

According to a recent study (3), for one job in a glass manufacturing plant, 1.3 local jobs are created along the recycling chain: glass recycling is therefore good for the environment, but also for people and for business – says Stefan Jaenecke, President of FEVE – Our ambition is to recycle more and more glass into new bottles. No limits to that provided that recycled glass is of good quality, and that any legislative measures ensure a level-­‐playing field for all packaging materials.

(1) See Event Special Page on www.feve.org
(2) See latest data on glass recycling published on www.feve.org. These average data are published as industry estimates based on latest available figures at country level.
(3) A study from E&Y for the French Glass Association is available on
http://www.verre-avenir.fr/Espace-communication/Espace-presse/Communique-de-presse