Glasso Recycling, headquartered in Ireland, recently announced that it had made a $2 million euro investment in a  facility specializing in the recycling of non-transparent glass waste.

The facility, located in Town of Naas within the County of Kildare in Ireland, the company claims that the facility will be able to recycle 10,000 tonnes of non-transparent glass waste per year.

According to Glassco, the glass – which is very dark in colour, and typically used to package cream liqueurs and other delicate drinks – blocks the sun rays and light which can cause the product inside to deteriorate quickly. This glass, while ideal for protecting the contents of the bottle “is not so good for the bottle’s green credentials,” the company explains.

As a result of the investment, Glassco said it will supply the glass manufacturing industry with dark non-transparent cullet as a separate colour stream, which offers energy savings to glass bottle manufacturers.

Managing director of Glassco, Zeki Mustafa, explains: “Glass recyclers like us, rely on optical sorting machines, to automatically remove contamination from the waste glass stream. Until now, these machines had no way to differentiate between a stone or piece of ceramic, and a piece of non-transparent glass, which meant that all dark non-transparent glass ended up being rejected and landfilled.”

The Technology

According to Glassco, the facility is the “first of its kind” and uses high speed cameras and LED lighting technology

According to the company, the installation is the “first of its kind”, and uses ultra-sensitive, high speed cameras with a scan rate of more than 20,000 scans per second to identify up to 100,000 pieces of glass per minute and remove the good glass for recycling. In combination with “ultra-bright” LED lighting technology, the cameras can produce several precise optical measurements of each piece of glass. Together with a new evaluation algorithm with artificial intelligence, this new system can differentiate between the dark glass and Ceramic, Stone and Porcelain (CSP) pieces, Glassco reports.

Mr Mustafa continued: “We are delighted to be able to pioneer this new technology and help Ireland exceed the EU glass recycling target of 75% by 2025 and continue to push past our current rate of 90%.

“This new plant represents a €2 million investment for us together with years of planning and R&D and we would like to thank Repak Glass for their foresight and continued support to help us make this possible.”

Circular Economy

One of the buyers of the final product is Encirc, a container glass manufacturer with two facilities in Ireland.

Adrian Curry, managing director of Encirc, who will be the main buyer of the new product said: “Having another 10,000 tonnes of any cullet available is great for our business but having such a large quantity of this unique product will allow us to increase the recycling rate in our amber bottles by a significant amount which is a win win for our customers and the environment.”

Glassco Recycling Ltd reports to hold collection and recycling contracts with 25 local authorities across Ireland. The company operates from a waste permitted processing facility in Naas, along with collection depots in Cork and Galway in Ireland.