European Glass Container Industry successful in reducing its environmental footprint

According to the last Life Cycle Assessment published in 2017, the industry has made important progress in decoupling the production growth from its environmental footprint.  This was done by intervening on all phases of the production cycle from the design to the recycling phase. Overall, the FEVE LCA demonstrates how closed-loop recycling has a tremendously positive impact on the environmental sustainability of glass packaging.

From 2007 to 2012, CO2 emissions in the container glass plants were reduced by 2.5% thanks to the increased use of cullet in the batch and the switch to cleaner energy source (i.e. from fuel oil to natural gas), the recycled content increased on average by 8% (from 44% to 52%) and the use of virgin raw materials decreased by -12% in the same period. Technically, bottles can be produced with up to 100% of recycled content where relevant and requested by the market. Water gross consumption at the glass plants was reduced by 3.5%.

The 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.

1 ) New Life Cycle Assessment Proves Industry Success in Reducing Environmental Footprint