Global Glass Recycling Market Forecast


The glass recycling is a robust niche market that will be worth more than US$ 4.4 billion by 2025 according to a recent market study.

Based on revenue, clear cullet is likely to account for around 60% of the global recycled glass market in 2025. Clear cullet is manufactured generally from soda, beer and soft drink bottles, flat glass, as well as food packaging. The current recycling rates for glass bottles are between 50% to 80%, partly because of the significantly lower temperatures needed to melt recycled cullet compared to virgin cullet.

In 2018, the Global Glass Recycling market size was 2610 million US$ and it is expected to reach 4190 million US$ by the end of 2025, with a CAGR of 7.0% during 2019-2025.

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Enviro-Corp Recycling to recycle glass from the Town of Innisfail, Alberta


The Town of Innisfail, a municipality of 7,000 in central Alberta, recently came to a glass recycling agreement with a British Columbia based company, Enviro-Corp Recycling.

Under the agreement, the town will pay Enviro-Corp $65 per tonne to recycle glass that residents drop off at the municipal transfer station.

At its regular meeting on April 11th, the town council voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with Enviro-Corp Recycling to handle glass recycling needs.

Enviro-Corp Recycling is headquartered in British Columbia. It has been in business since 2008. The company recycles glass beverage containers for use in the glass bottle manufacturing industry.

The Enviro-Corp Recycling process includes color sorting, crushing and sizing as well as removing labels, aluminum and metal from the containers. The glass that leaves Enviro-Corp’s facility is furnace ready and needs no further processing before being melted down and made into new glass bottles.

Enviro-Grit made from recycled glass

Enviro-Corp Recycling is a division of United Concrete & Gravel Ltd, a company that began in 1977.

One of the products generated by Enviro-Corp Recycling is enviro-grit abrasives. This blasting abrasive is 100% crystalline silica-free and made from recycled glass. It is used for removing rust and most coatings on the surfaces of a variety of materials.

Heather Whymark, the town’s Director of Corporate Services, had been looking into finding a company to do glass recycling. Under the glass recycling agreement, Enviro-Corp Recycling will charge the Town $65 per tonne to recycle the glass. Currently, it is costing the Town $125 per tonne to dispose in a landfill.

As for the impact the new service will have on the town budget, Whymark said because the glass recycling cost, $65 per tonne, is half the $125 cost for waste removal, the town should be able to break even, at least in the first year.

At this point, the town considers the glass recycling arrangement to be a pilot project and its success will depend on the uptake by residents to dropping off glass for recycling at the town’s transfer station.

For Enviro-Corp, the Town of Innisfail situation between Calgary and Edmonton – two municipalities that they currently pick up glass for recycling.

Development of an Alternative Glass Market: Bio-Soil from Recycled Glass

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The Regional Municipality of Niagara, Ontario recently reported on a research and development project that explored alternative uses for recycled glass.  The project was partially funded from the Ontario Continuous Improvement Fund, which is a partnership between the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the City of TorontoStewardship Ontario (SO) and the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (formerly Waste Diversion Ontario – WDO).

In Ontario and throughout much of Canada, the marketplace for municipal grade mixed broken glass is relatively thin and, at the same time, quality specifications from end markets are becoming tighter, requiring added attention by Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operators.

Testing a Potential New End Market for Recovered Glass

Niagara Region is seeking to create a secondary market for recycled glass in the event its current market (sandblast) slows down. The project the municipality is currently working on is an innovative approach to development of an economically-effective way to replace up to 85% of the sand component of engineered bio-soil with processed recycled glass.

A perceived benefit to using recycled glass in bio-soil for the Region is that its granular sizing can be controlled and be easily reproduced at the Region’s glass processing facility.

The project features three main tasks to determine the suitability and feasibility of utilizing recycled glass as an ingredient in bio-soil.  The tasks are as follows:

  • Task 1 – Laboratory Testing of Bio-soil Quality;
  • Task 2 – Field Plot Testing of Bio-soil Quality; and
  • Task 3 – Economic Feasibility Analysis

Task 1 Progress to Date

Task 1 has three goals:

  1. Identify desired product specifications and characteristics to be in line with soil media currently used;
  2. Examine the physical, chemical, microbiological and leaching characteristics of the recycled glass; and
  3. Undertake greenhouse trials to test the effectiveness of the proposed media specifications and determine which of the mixes should be taken to larger field trails in Task 2.

So far under Task 1, the Region has experienced mixed success with laboratory germination tests. The first test revealed 80% germination and positive plant growth. However, the second growth test results were not as favourable, with only 20% growth. The discrepancy between the two is that different media mixes were used. Further testing is currently underway to confirm growth viability.

First Test with Positive Growth

Second Test with Less Than Positive Growth

The goal for Task 2, is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed media through field plot studies. The results from the greenhouse studies undertaken in Task 1 will be fully evaluated by the project team and field plots will be designed. This evaluation will identify what media mixes showed the potential characteristics desired and which one should be brought forward for the field plot studies. The field plots will be located at a site that is suitable to meet the ongoing needs of the research over the length of the project.

Assessing Economic Feasibility in Task 3

Task 3 will build on the results of Tasks 1 and 2 to complete an economic feasibility assessment for including recycled glass in bio-soil.

A first step for Task 3 is a high-level assessment (tonnages, costs, revenues) of the current recycled market in Ontario. This plus Niagara data would be used as the baseline from for comparison. The efforts would then include an examination of all the costs for production of bio-soil utilizing recycled glass. A secondary goal is the evaluation of the market costs for comparable sand products and the value ranges for which recycled glass could be purchased.

Project Next Steps

Once Niagara Region has identified and developed the correct mixture for optimal germination and growth, staff will proceed to Task 2 and carry out some field trials. Please stay tuned for a follow up blog highlighting the results of the project.

Glass Recycling Innovation in Europe

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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.