Yesterday, a provisional agreement was reached between the three institutions on the waste package. Glass for Europe, the trade association of Europe's flat glass sector, which manufactures energy saving technologies for the building, transport and solar-energy sectors, welcomes that an agreement could be found. 'Flat glass is fully recyclable into glass products and yet recycling rates remain low in Europe. With this agreement, the EU policy signal in support of a truly circular economy is clear and flat glass manufacturers are keen on upscaling the recycling of building glass' said Bertrand Cazes, Secretary General of Glass for Europe.
Circular economy starts by ensuring that the status of by-products is not unduly complexified or denied so that these pre-consumer streams can be easily recycled. The conditions for a substance or object to be considered as by-product are already defined in the waste framework directive. However, experience shows that flat glass off-cuts are too often considered waste in Member States despite meeting all the conditions set. Glass for Europe welcomes the commitments made in the agreed text for a uniform application of the conditions.
The second and biggest challenge is to enhance the effective recycling of end-of-life building glass coming from old windows and façades. Because it is not properly sorted at source in Europe, its recycling in new glass products is made difficult. Studies have shown that in certain regions of Europe, there can be social and environmental benefits to improving building glass collection and sorting. With this new waste package's signal to look at specific waste streams including building glass, all relevant economic actors, with the support of public authorities, are invited to work hand in hand to design models that are both effective and economically balanced.
Glass for Europe is looking forward to the implementation of the new waste package. 'The new framework provides long-term vision and clarity on all actors' responsibilities, and our industry is ready to engage with national, regional and local authorities to design appropriate measures to close the flat glass loop, wherever it can benefit Society', concluded Bertrand Cazes.