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glass bottles

Can glass be recycled?

Posted in Recycling
On 03 Aug 2017
By Jas Bagri

“Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity – something few food and beverage packaging options can claim.”

(Glass Packaging Institute)

Here at Biffa we believe that glass recycling is an important part of the circular economy and have invested over £3m in state of the art facilities to maximise both the volume and quality of glass we recover.

Every year we are responsible for recycling around 90,000 tonnes of glass which predominantly is sent to be re-melted and turned into new glass.

Government recycling targets for business were put into place in 2014 including specific glass recycling targets aimed to reduce the amount of glass sent to landfill each year. The 2017 target of 77% will increase to 80% in 2020 and is something that businesses need to more fully address, as the currently volume of glass sent to landfill is over 200,000 tonnes per annum from pub and bar waste alone.

Biffa’s glass recycling

Biffa has invested in two glass recycling plants in Aldridge and Edmonton in the UK. This multi-million pound investment has seen our upgraded, cutting-edge equipment produce a better grade of recycled glass and reduced contamination.

The Edmonton MRF is licensed to process up to 350,000 tonnes of mixed recyclables annually, a maximum of around 95,000 tonnes of which is glass. The Aldridge MRF, meanwhile, has the capacity to process up to 300,000 tonnes of mixed recyclables each year. Of this material, our MRF is able to process up to around 65,000 tonnes of glass each year.

Supporting business glass recycling.

The process of glass recycling is complex and represents one of the most problematic areas of waste management faced by the sector. Improvements to glass cleaning have allowed Biffa to significantly increase the quality of glass output, and enable the glass recycling plants to operate more efficiently and effectively, while ensuring we can create a sustainable pathway for business development.

Overall, the UK has a lot of work to do to be able to hit the 2020 glass recycling target. However, businesses across the UK are making a conscious effort to ensure glass recycling at their establishments is taking place. Here at Biffa we are committed to raising the profile of glass recycling to reduce waste to landfill from this valuable source.



About the author

image of jas bagri

Jas Bagri

Jas is part of Biffa’s digital team, writing a diverse range of content on a number on industry topics. Jas’s favourite subject to write about is recycling, so look out for her handy tips coming your way!