European Glass Container Industry steadily progressing on decarbonization
According to the last Life Cycle Assessment published in 2017 (1), the glass industry has made major progress in decoupling the production growth from our CO2 footprint. This was done by intervening on all phases of the production cycle from the design to the recycling phase: the efforts to recover waste heat, the increased use of cullet in the batch and the switch to cleaner energy sources (i.e. from fuel oil to natural gas) are amongst the main drivers behind this reduction. The FEVE LCA study shows that, on a cradle-to-cradle basis, 1 tonne of recycled glass (cullet) saves 0.58 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of finished glass. For every 10% of cullet added to the batch, energy consumption goes down by 3% and CO2 by 5%.
In 2015 the industry emitted 5% less CO2 per tonne of glass compared to 2009.
Source: FEVE based on FEVE LCA studies and industry production statistics
These are the latest achievements of a long-standing industry investment in reducing its CO2 and environmental footprint. According to industry data, CO2 emissions have been reduced by 70% in the last 50 years.
Nonetheless, this carbon footprint is not as low as we would like. We are strongly committed to decarbonizing the industry. Each year, we invest €610 million on decarbonization, energy efficiency and upgrading our European plants.
We have created an Innovation Working Group exploring technological breakthroughs like big scale electric furnaces, carbon storage technologies, etc. But the decarbonization of our industry will not depend only on our efforts: the availability of truly renewable and CO2 neutral energy sources will have a major impact on our CO2 footprint. That’s why we invest in partnerships with our members, policymakers, academics, all parts of the supply chain and other stakeholders to build our future.
(1) The Life Cycle Assessment study covers 84% or 17.5 Mtons of the Year 2012 European sold volume of packed container glass and 219 furnaces across Europe (205 in 2007). All glass production technologies and bottle colours have been assessed. The study was peer reviewed by a panel of LCA experts, including the chairman of the ISO TC207/SC5 Life Cycle Assessment. The full inventory of inputs and outputs to produce an average glass bottle is available on request. New Life Cycle Assessment Proves Industry Success in Reducing Environmental Footprint