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European Commission adopts End-of-Waste criteria for glass
The European Commission (EC) has adopted End-of-Waste (EoW) regulations for glass.
The EC’s meeting on Monday (9 July) saw member states draft regulations for glass, copper and paper. Of the three, only glass reached a qualifying majority vote (QMV) from member states, and will be implemented across Europe ‘in due course’. Most notably, the regulations appear to state that glass cullet must be of high enough quality for remelt.
Rebecca Cocking, Head of Container Affairs at British Glass Manufacturers’ Confederation, welcomed the glass regulations saying: “We are pleased that a point at which waste ceases to be waste for glass has been agreed. This will stop any future confusion regarding what is processed and unprocessed cullet."
“From an EU point of view [the EoW] allows the free movement of processed cullet and removes some of the red tape. It also reinforces the UK government’s decision that glass being returned to remelt has a higher environmental benefit than other applications”, said Cocking.
Explaining the need for remelt grade material glass, Cocking added: “The quality of glass has been deteriorating for a number of years. The introduction of comingled collections has resulted in glass being contaminated with non-glass. The variations in glass contaminants and the cost of processing to remove the non-glass is not currently economical [and] in order to continue to use recycled glass, some manufacturers are importing material to ensure cullet quality remains high.”
According to British Glass, each tonne of glass sent for remelt saves between 0.263 to 0.315 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, compared to glass aggregates, which have an average CO2 equivalent saving of zero. Defra is yet to define whether glass cullet sent for use in aggregates would count as waste or recycled material.
Regulations for copper and paper will be discussed at the European Council, but there were general concerns from member states that the ‘two per cent and under’ contamination levels (by weight) set for copper were too tight and refuted the inclusion of multilayered paper. Member states also criticised the draft paper regulations as having a ‘lack of consistency and clarity’. It is expected that copper and paper EoW regulations will be reviewed after the summer break.
More information on the End-of-Waste criteria can be found on the EC website.
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