INDUSTRY OPTIMIZING PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP TO REDUCE ENERGY, RAW MATERIAL CONSUMPTION, AND EMISSIONS

The industry has joined forces to increase the amount of recycled glass in every bottle by major investments in new technologies at glass treatment plants to increase the quantity and quality of available cullet.  The project now enables the industry to recover the fine fractions of glass which were previously lost due to technical limitations of the processing machines.

One very successful example is the Vetreco plant set up in Italy in 2010 which treats 10% of the recycled glass scrap in Italy, destined to glass container production. The plant was set up by three important companies operating in the hollow glass containers sector, Verallia, Zignago Vetro and Ardagh Group Italy with an investment of 17MEur. The site is equipped with state-of-art glass cullet processing technologies guaranteeing very high levels of quality of the finished product and obtaining a separation of cullet by color. In fact, in Italy used glass bottles are not yet separated by colour and therefore, the use of cullet is limited only to the production of glass with green coloring or, in part, with half-white color. Vetreco has allowed the production of high-quality white (flint) cullet. Some 200,000 tonnes of ready-to-use cullet are supplied to the glass container industry.

Recycled Glass or Cullet is the most important resource for glass container production. Replacing 10% of the virgin raw materials (sand, sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate) with cullet reduces energy consumption by up to 3% and CO2 emissions by 5%. One ton of cullet replaces 1.2 tons of virgin raw materials.