From Windscreen to Tabletop: Where is your glass coming from?
Glass recycling is vital in promoting a circular economy. We all know how to recycle our glass bottles and jars, but have you ever thought about where glass items such as windscreens end up? Well, they wind up in the same place as your glass bottles do – back in our furnaces with other recycled glass ready to be melted down and crafted into stunning glass bottles.
So, do you really know where your recycled glass bottles are coming from?
What can be recycled?
Most of the glass products you see within your day-to-day lives can be recycled. But there are certain instances when glass composition or finishes mean they can’t be returned into a circular system. Anything you’re putting into curb side collection bins or bottle banks is easily useable for our recycled glass content, as is any flat glass from construction sites or car manufacturers.
But there are some forms of glass that we can’t re-use. Some types of double glazing for example, cannot be put back into our furnaces due to chemicals added to the glass when it is made for increased strength. These additional chemicals mean that the glass cannot be mixed with other general glass waste due to its composition. The way glass is treated during manufacture is often the reason it cannot be mixed with other general glass recycling. Some other examples of this are:
- Pyrex dishes
- Crystal vases
Recycled Content in Glass Packaging
The amount of recycled content that can go into your beautifully designed glass packaging depends entirely on your desired outcome. Certain coloured glass allows for much higher levels of recycled glass content, our usual levels are:
- Standard glass: up to 70%
- Charcoal glass: up to 95%
- Green glass: up to 97%
You may be left asking why we don’t go as high as 100% recycled glass within our green colour bottles, but the reasoning behind this is to preserve a high level of quality. We often need to add a very small percentage of raw materials into the mix to ensure seed levels are kept to a minimum. (Seeds being bubbles in the glass) The small percentage of raw materials helps to keep the glass chemistry in control and, therefore, the quality.
Where is our glass coming from?
We get our cullet glass from two main suppliers: URM and Sibelco. Sibelco provide us with post-consumer container cullet and URM provide us with a mixture of both post-consumer container cullet and plate cullet from construction and automotive industries (around a 70:30 ratio respectively). Having a reliable supply chain in place that we can trust is vital to our ability to consistently provide greener glass options.
We are able to trust our suppliers to fully inspect and sort through all glass provided to ourselves, to avoid any unwanted materials from entering our furnaces. Extra materials, such as plastics entering the furnaces can cause imperfections in glass, so it is important that we work with suppliers with a thorough inspection process.
Sustainable Glass Manufacturing with Verallia
At Verallia, we are continuously striving to better our own practices and push for a greener future in the glass industry. Glass recycling is a huge part of what we do to reduce our footprint in our manufacturing processes and highly important to us in promoting a circular future. You can find out more about our ambitious green targets on our sustainability page.
If you’re looking for a manufacturing partner that is green inside and out, get in contact with a member of our team.