Glass Flow 2025 – Glass Packaging Flow Data Report

29th August 2019

The estimated quantity of glass packaging placed on the market & recycled from 2017 to 2025 and the probability of compliance with national & European recycling targets.

Key points
The most robust estimate that could be derived suggests that the quantity of glass packaging POM in 2017 was 2,487k tonnes (margin of error +/- 7%). This estimate is 88k tonnes higher than the 2012 industry estimate of 2,399k tonnes.
Assuming that the POM figure of 2,487k tonnes applies then based on this report’s projections of glass packaging POM and glass packaging recycling the UK is expected to fall short of the national equivalents of the business targets in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Background

This project was commissioned by WRAP and carried out by Valpak Consulting, Verde Research & Consulting and WRAP, to provide support for glass packaging material flow estimates in Defra’s packaging policy work. The objective was to review the quantity of plastic packaging being placed on the market (POM) and recycled in 2017. The project also reviewed the implications of various scenarios for future recycling rates out to 2025. The method to achieve this was primary and secondary research with engagement of a stakeholder steering group.

Project Key Conclusions: Flow

  • The most robust estimate that could be derived suggests that the quantity of glass packaging POM in 2017 was 2,487k tonnes (margin of error +/- 7%).
  • This estimate is 88k tonnes higher than the 2012 industry estimate of 2,399k tonnes.
  • Glass packaging POM is projected increase from 2,487k tonnes in 2018 to 2,550k tonnes in 2020 and to 2,544k tonnes in 2025.

Project Key Conclusions: Recycling

  • The total quantity of UK glass packaging recycled in 2017 is estimated to be 1,715k tonnes, including 1623k tonnes reported and 92k tonnes estimated as unreported recycling.
  • Based on the POM calculated as part of this project, this gives an overall recycling rate of 69% (reported and unreported recycling) or 65% (reported recycling).

Data Sources

The amount of glass packaging POM was calculated using the following methods and data sources:

  • Consumer: Packaging used in the consumer sector was estimated using retail sector sales data and packaging usage.
  • Non-consumer: Packaging used in the non-consumer sector was taken from a range of sources, including industry estimates of container production, the National Packaging Waste Database (NPWD) and various secondary data sources.

Data Uncertainties and Appropriate Confidence in Estimates 

The data presented in the Glass Flow report intends to represent the best estimate possible, given the available data. However, owing to uncertainties inherent in many of the data sources and assumptions used, it is important to caveat the robustness of the estimates. Appendix I includes an assessment of the uncertainty and robustness of the estimates.

Meeting the EU Glass Recycling Target

  • Assuming that the POM figure of 2,487k tonnes applies then based on this report’s projections of glass packaging POM and glass packaging recycling the UK is expected to fall short of the national equivalents of the business targets in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • The associated probabilities of meeting the national equivalents of the business targets for glass accredited packaging recycling in 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 12.4%, 14.6% and 15.6% respectively.
  • Based on the POM and recycling scenarios, the proposed CEP target of 70% in 2025 is likely to be met.