Growing awareness about the environment and the need of reducing glass waste in driven the need for glass recycling. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity. Recycled glass can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials. Recycled glass reduces carbon emissions, reduces the consumption of raw materials of glass manufacturing, extends the life of plant equipment, such as furnaces, and saves energy. Following is the process of industrial glass recycling:
Collection of recyclable glass
Transportation of recyclable to a material recovery facility (MRF)
Collected glass waste is separated by material type
Glass from the MRF and drop-off locations is sent to a glass processing company
Glass is separated from other waste and contaminants
Sorting of glass based on color
Glass cullet is sold to glass container manufacturers
Glass container manufacturers then use that glass cullet to make new glass containers
The global recycled glass market was valued at ~USD 4 billion in 2020 and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% from 2020 to 2027 due to the rising demand for an effective and sustainable waste management system. Many governments are promoting the usage of recycled glass for environmental benefits such as, recycling one ton of glass saves 670 kg of C02. Europe is leading the global recycled glass market with more than 30% share. In Europe, 70% of glass bottles are collected for recycling. Countries like Belgium, Sweden, and Switzerland have over 90% recycling rates. In terms of product, the glass cullet segment is the largest segment. It accounted for more than 50% of the overall recycled glass market. More than 95% of glass cullet collected, turn into glasses. The container and fiberglass industries collectively purchase more than 3 million tons of recycled glass annually, which is used in the production of new containers and fiberglass products.
Determining the cost of glass recycling is very complicated because, in some countries, waste glass collection is sponsored by glass manufacturers. Whereas, in some cases, the collection is sponsored by local municipal authorities. Predominantly, a glass collecting company or agency does the initial sorting and cleaning of collected waste glass. This process is the major cost driver of glass recycling. It accounted for more than 20% of the glass recycling cost. After cleaning, collection agencies sell the glass to glass container manufacturers. When the glass cullet reaches glass container manufacturers, the cost of glass recycling is determined by the raw material costs. Major raw materials include sand, limestone, soda ash, and cullet. The cost of raw material during glass manufacturing from recycled cullet accounted for more than 50% of the overall cost of production.
Poor waste collection systems in many countries are a major challenge in the global glass recycling industry. For instance, municipalities in an advanced economy like the U.S. do not have spate glass waste collection system. The U.S. municipalities manage residential recycling primarily via single-stream curbside collection. As a result, the glass waste is mixed with other waste materials such as metal cans (aluminum & steel) along with plastic, newspaper, cardboard, and other paper products. It makes the sorting process very complicated and costly. Because of this, only 33% of glass waste is recycled in the U.S. yearly.
Momentum Recycling, Strategic Materials, Reiling Glass Recycling GmbH & Co. KG, Glass Recycled Surfaces, Coloured Aggregates Inc., Harsco Corporation, Vetropack Holding Ltd., Ngwenya glass, Glasrecyclin are some of the key suppliers of recycled glass. The global recycled glass industry features a moderately fragmented landscape as the industry leaders contribute less than 30% of the overall market share. Leading suppliers are strengthening their presence through multiple mergers and acquisitions. Grand View Research will help our client identify the best-suited suppliers by mapping their core capabilities and operational efficiency.
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