Glass packaging reaches circular economy in Europe
The glass packaging sector brings Europe economic, social and environmental benefits, according to the results of a recent study commissioned by category association Feve. The sector represents an essential component in the packaging industry and invests up to 610 million euros each year to innovate and maintain a network of 155 plants across the European Union. The sum represents 10% of sector operating costs. In addition, the glass packaging industry contributes to EU GDP at a value of 9.5 billion euros a year and has a positive impact on Europe’s balance of trade, with a surplus of 21 billion euros, for products primarily packaged in glass containers. The sector creates jobs and maintains many others, supporting a number of other industries at a local level. Glass packaging production plants deliver over half of their products within a 300km radius and over 70% of the raw materials used travel less than 300km. Given these factors, the glass packaging industry is an excellent example of a well functioning circular economy. Bottle recycling reduces the industry’s impact on the environment. Seven out of ten bottles are collected and start the recycling process. Each tonne of recycled glass saves 1.2 tonnes of raw materials and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 60%.