We only have one planet. We need to help protect and preserve it for generations to come
Today, there is increasing concern for Earth’s future. With a growing demand for resources, we already consume 1.5 times more than what our planet is able to produce. If we continue at this pace, by 2050, we will require two planets to make up the shortfall. Glass is an optimal material to help use raw materials efficiently, avoid waste and produce an everyday product in a closed loop.
Glass is a natural product made out of sand, soda ash and limestone. It is inert, meaning not chemically reactive, and therefore does not impact the environment. This product is 100% recyclable and a precious secondary raw material.
Glass has endless lives because it is 100% infinitely recyclable in a bottle-to-bottle closed loop cycle, it should therefore never have to end up at the landfill or be incinerated. Europe has the highest glass recycling rates worldwide, currently collecting on average 70% of glass bottles for recycling every year. In the past 15 years, glass recycling has increased by 139%. And every returnable glass bottle can be used an average of 40 times before it even needs to be recycled for the first time.
Glass recycling has many benefits. The key is a responsible and efficient use of virgin raw materials. Through our recycling efforts, we are able to constantly save precious raw materials and reduce CO2 emissions. On average a bottle contains over 52% recycled content but some go even up to 95%. One hundred kilograms of recycled glass replaces 120 kilograms of virgin raw materials. That is an important saving. By replacing 100% of the virgin materials with recycled glass, CO2 emissions are cut by about 58%.
Opting for glass helps reduce carbon emissions. When glass is recycled, there is no need to produce, process or transport new raw materials because it takes place in a closed loop. In fact, for every ton of recycled glass produced, 670 kilograms of CO2 are saved. More than 70% of raw materials travel less than 300 km. See Ernst & Young Report for more details.
Our industry is dedicated to constantly innovating our circular economy business model by upgrading glass plants to be more environmentally friendly and by continuously innovating our products. Today’s glass bottles are 30% lighter than they were two decades ago whilst maintaining their quality. And over the past half-century, we have also reduced overall CO2 emissions across our industry by over 70%. All so that a European tradition hundreds of years old can continue to flourish for centuries to come, in a sustainable way. You can learn how the industry is contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals here.