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New market opportunities for recycled flat glass

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Developed in conjunction with industry representatives, the flat glass Quality Protocol will cut red tape for businesses that process waste flat glass by reducing the need to hold a number of permits and licences usually required to handle and use waste materials. A three-month consultation outlining the proposals starts today.

Martin Brocklehurst, Head of External Programmes at the Environment Agency said: “We create over 700,000 tonnes of waste flat glass each year. Currently only around 200,000 tonnes of this waste is recycled. This consultation on a Quality Protocol for processed cullet from waste flat glass, proposes creating new business opportunities for companies that market and sell-on processed flat glass. By allowing them to get rid of the “waste” tag, their products will be more attractive to buyers”.

There are also considerable environmental benefits to be achieved from adopting the proposals outlined in the consultation, for example:

· re-melting processed flat glass reduces energy use by as much as 25 per cent over making glass from virgin raw materials,

· using recycled glass in the production of bricks can result in energy savings of up to 20 per cent; using a tonne of recycled glass as filtration media can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1200 kg,

· recycling glass saves the need to use valuable raw materials: re-melting a tonne of waste flat glass saves 1.2 tonnes of raw materials from being extracted.

Processed flat glass cullet can be turned into a number of products such as flux used in brick manufacture, various types of filtration media as well as being used as a material on golf courses and other sport pitches and as an aggregate substitute used in building materials

Dr Richard Swannell from WRAP said: “Glass is a valuable material used by many different industries, and the flat glass industry has grown at a rate of 5% over the last 20 years, making it the second largest sector in the UK glass manufacturing industry.”

“The launch of today's consultation is good news for the businesses operating in or with the flat glass market and we are keen to hear their comments and feedback on the proposals. If agreed, we believe the Quality Protocol will help increase business activity in the flat glass recycling market whilst also reducing the amount of waste flat glass that would normally end up in landfills. ”

The consultation for the Quality Protocol for the production of cullet from waste flat glass can be found at: http://qpyr1.dialoguebydesign.net/. Further information on the Waste Protocols Project and applications forms can also be found at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk,

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