Assessment of the International Trading Markets for Recycled Container Glass and their Environmental Implications

Assessment of the International Trading Markets for Recycled Container Glass and their Environmental Implications

The study clearly demonstrates that the best environmental option for recovered UK cullet is returning it to domestic container glass manufacturers for remelting. Unfortunately the colour imbalance which exists between the glass being recovered and that being produced currently limits the amount of cullet that can be directed into domestic remelt although this has been met by developing alternative uses of excess green glass and by export to foreign container manufacturers.

The data demonstrated that transport emissions do not have a significant impact on the overall level of emissions savings attributable to use of cullet in glass manufacture. It also showed that cullet going back into remelt, either home or abroad, significantly reduced carbon impact rather than using it in domestic aggregate manufacture.

In summary, GTS was able to identify international trade opportunities for cullet use in container remelt, principally in near Europe, demonstrate that recycling of container cullet back to furnace remains the best environmental option by a considerable margin, even when significant shipping distances are involved.

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