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Clear guidance for local authorities aims to boost glass quality

Post Time:Sep 22,2008Classify:Success StoriesView:829

New guidance to help local authorities boost the quality, financial and environmental benefits of their glass recycling collection services has been launched by WRAP (Waste Resources & Action Programme).

The 20-page Good Practice Guidance provides essential information on the potential benefits to local authority waste managers of making the most of collecting and recycling waste container glass (cullet). It also emphasises how a sustainable service for collecting glass of the best possible quality for end markets can provide advantages in terms of saving money, energy and valuable resources.

"This will realise the best value for the cullet that is collected, as well as offer the greatest environmental benefits," commented Marcus Gover, WRAP Market Development Programme Director. "Glass is infinitely recyclable, but quality must be high for it to be kept in the recycling loop and reused again in the same way; bottles to new bottles, for example."

The guide complements WRAP's existing support for local authorities in England and Northern Ireland, which includes information and support on the design, operation and performance of their collection schemes.

The guidance was developed to help LA officers understand more about the UK demand for colour-separated cullet and the related environmental benefits of glass recycling so they are better informed when reviewing services and tendering contracts. It was developed following significant research into glass collection and reprocessing practices with LAs and waste management companies.

A key focus for WRAP in its new business plan is the quality of recycled materials.

This comprehensive guidance puts this into practice and aims to increase the availability of good quality cullet for use in closed-loop recycling, such as jar and bottle manufacture. 

"How waste glass is collected can have a huge impact on its subsequent re-use and end markets.  So we are keen to work with local authority officers and waste management contractors to help to make this a success," Gover explained.

Some 1.5 million tonnes of waste container glass (cullet) is collected in the UK each year. An increasing proportion of this is mixed-colour which often cannot be sorted sufficiently for recycling back into glass bottles.

High quality cullet for use in higher end markets, such as container manufacture, is in short supply, and glass reprocessors will pay more for colour-separated glass. "While there is an associated cost with colour separation, this can be partly offset by the increased price paid by glass reprocessors," said Gover.

Using recycled container glass to make new glass products uses 25% less energy per tonne compared to using raw materials. Anecdotal evidence suggests that local authorities are increasingly responding to enquiries from residents about what is happening to the materials being collected for recycling and communicating how they are re-used.

"Boosting glass quality can benefit local authorities financially as it helps them to meet their targets for recycling and diversion from landfill - as well as enhancing their reputations in the eyes of their eco-conscious council tax payers," added Gover.

WRAP plans to hold a series of regional workshops on how to make the most from glass collection services later this year. To register your interest in these events, please contact WRAP's training department on 01295 819655 or email:

Source: HUB Author: shangyi

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