Sustainably Sourced Sand and Recycled Glass main raw materials for European Glass Container Circular Economy

Brussels, 17 February 2020

Sand is a very important resource for the production of glass containers. However, the European Container Glass industry is highly committed to reduce its use wherever possible by replacing it with recycled glass and to ensure that when it is used, sand is sustainably and locally sourced.
Sand used in the container glass production is abundant in nature, locally and sustainably sourced.

The industrial sand used for glass production must comply with very strict technical specifications in terms of chemical purity and dimension. This is different from low-quality sand taken from beaches or riverbanks generally used for construction which contains too many impurities.

The industrial sand is abundant in nature and it represents less than 1% of the 50 billion tonnes of sand extracted per year.

Its extraction is strictly regulated by EU, national and local legislation and by no means it can be the object of illicit trafficking. Extraction permits guarantee its sustainable sourcing as well as the rehabilitation of the quarries at the end of the extraction period.

We privilege the proximity of supply to the European producing plants so that we can avoid long-distance transport and minimise environmental and cost impacts.

Recycled Glass is the main raw material used by the industry. One ton of recycled glass replaces 1.2 tons of sand and other virgin raw materials.Glass is a permanent material, endlessly recycled in a closed-loop and therefore the main resource of its own production.

Today on average, in the production batch we put 52% of recycled glass, avoiding the depletion of more than 7 million tons of virgin sand per year.

Technically glass bottles may be produced with up to 95% of recycled glass. The only limit to its use is availability and quality.

Read More on the full version of the FEVE Position Paper