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Glass for Europe members are proud to be producing a product which is recyclable. The industry takes sustainability issues very seriously and is therefore continuing its efforts to minimize and recycle glass waste at any stage.
The float glass manufacturing process produces minimal waste products and an extremely small amount of toxic wastes. The float process recycles virtually all its glass waste during production. This glass (known as cullet) is reintroduced to the float batch mix to aid melting.
In additions to this recycling of internal waste products, the flat glass industry can also use waste glass from other sources provided that quality conditions are met. The use of 'cullet' contributes to reducing the need for raw materials and energy input. In turn, it helps achieve reduced CO2 emissions.
Glass for Europe whishes to see the development of an efficient waste management infrastructure in every Member State for the collection and treatment of construction and demolition glass as a raw material.
The glass industry is willing to contribute expertise in the setting up of these infrastructures with workable, practical and economically viable solutions.
In Europe, each year, approximately 1.2 million tonnes of glass waste is generated by the demolition and renovation of buildings. Glass represents 0.66% of the construction and demolition waste stream.
There are three main operations involved in the recycling of glass generated by construction and demolition:
- Dismantling: the glass is removed from the building and sorted by type according to the proposed end use.
- Cullet processing: only limited quantities of Construction and Demolition glass are recycled as in most countries there is no standardized system for dismantling and collection.
- Shredding: the whole building is demolished and the C & D waste (including glass) is crushed and shredded into pieces.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, which aims to promote sustainable buildings, by awarding credit points in seven different categories. It addresses, amongst others, reduction of energy use, improvement to the indoor environment quality and the recycling of materials. One of these categories, Materials and Resources, enables credits to be earned on the basis of the recycled content of products. Glass for Europe issued the following statement to clarify how recycled content of glass products should be accounted for under the LEEP certification scheme.
Between eight and nine million tonnes of end-of-life vehicle (ELV) waste is generated each year in the European Union. Automotive glass represents approximately 3% (by mass) of the total composition of a car. Recovering and dismantling automotive glass is a complex and therefore lengthy process. If the glass is recyclable, it needs to be properly dismantled from cars and sorted from the other scrap to remove the antenna, connectors and solders. Then, it needs to be treated in special facilities before it can be melted again as glass, or alternatively used as a secondary aggregate material to produce materials and products such as fibre glass and abrasives.
Glass for Europe is monitoring the market to ensure that the recycling of automotive glass is being carried out effectively and in accordance with the requirements of Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, i.e. 80% of the vehicle to be reused and recycled. In particular, Glass for Europe is monitoring whether the market is managing to handle all end-of-life automotive glass.