EU's Joint Research Centre sets specifications that will allow glass cullet to be used in production of new objects by remelting in glass manufacturing plants; end-of-waste concept aims to boost European recycling markets, reduce waste

Andrew Rogers

Andrew Rogers

BRUSSELS , January 3, 2013 (press release) – Many people would have celebrated New Year's Eve with maybe a bottle or two of beer or bubbly wine, but that date also signalled the start of a new regulation assuring a second life for bottles and other glass containers.

Already, citizens in the EU are becoming more resourceful with waste and finding ways to reduce, re-use, recycle and substitute. Now, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has set specifications so that glass cullet (ground glass) can be used directly in the production of new objects by re-melting in glass manufacturing facilities. The end-of-waste concept aims to stimulate European recycling markets by creating legal certainty, removing unnecessary administrative burden, and releasing safe and clean secondary raw materials from the waste process.

The JRC has defined the technical criteria which determine when a material recovered from waste ceases to be waste and can be dealt with as a raw material. The criteria place limits on the amount of contaminants, such as metals, organics and stones that can be contained in glass cullet for it to be classed as a secondary raw material.

It is hoped that this will help reduce the amount of unrecycled waste being generated each year. According to Eurostat statistics, in the EU, 3 billion tonnes of waste is being thrown out each year. EU directives now require Member States to introduce legislation on waste collection, re-use, recycling and disposal of these waste streams. Several EU countries are already managing to recycle over 50 % of packaged waste.

The EU's waste policy has evolved over the last 30 years through a series of environmental action plans and legislation. The Waste Framework Directive (2008) has given the European Commission a mandate to set up end-of-waste criteria for certain materials recovered from waste. However, in the past, the lack of concise criteria led EU countries to develop different and not always compatible frameworks for regulating recovered materials.

However, this should change with the JRC providing a methodology for the development of EU-wide uniform criteria and conducting an initial study to assess the suitability of end-of-waste criteria for a large number of material streams important for EU recycling markets. These include: aluminium scrap, iron and steel scrap, copper scrap, paper, glass and biodegradable waste.

For more information, please visit:

Joint Research Centre:

European Commission - Environment:

Related stories: 35319

Category: Projects
Data Source Provider: Joint Research Centre
Document Reference: Based on information from the Joint Research Centre
Subject Index: Legislation, Regulations; Sustainable development

RCN: 35398

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