230% growth in volume of glass recycled since 2006 says The Glass Recycling Company of SA

Submitted by: Amanda Botes, Friday, May 24, 2013

Annual glass recycling volumes in South Africa have grown by 230% since the inception of The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC) in 2006, this is according to the company’s latest annual review for the 2011/12 period. According to the TGRC, the current rate of glass recycling in South Africa stands at 40.1% which is the highest in Africa and is not far behind the glass recycling rates of other regions and countries, including Eastern Europe (45%), Brazil (47%), and Australia (49%).  

The TGRC’s mission is to promote both recycling and reuse of glass in South Africa.  According to the company’s annual review for the 2011/2012 period  South Africa’s highly sophisticated glass bottle returns system together with the high rate of recycling of non-returnable glass saved more than 2.4 million tonnes of glass from going to landfill in the 2011/12 period. A total of 1 billion glass containers were recovered for recycling in the 2011/12 period which equates to 2.8 million bottles per day.

The graph below shows the increase in the rate of glass recycling from 2005/6 to 2011/12. Glass consumption peaked in the 2008/9 period and in the last two years the amount of glass consumed in South Africa and the rate of recycling has steadied. In the 2011/12 period 338,140 tonnes of glass was recycled. The figures represent all food and beverage glass containers.

Although there has not been much improvement in the rate of glass recycling since the last financial year Shabeer Jhetam, CEO of TGRC, notes that even though there are challenges that lie ahead he is confident that glass recycling rates can be improved, “The road ahead will require a sharpened focus. The implementation of separation at source will ensure improvements in the recycling rate, and I am optimistically confident that with the extensive support we have and continue to enjoy, that we are in good shape to meet the complexities of the recycling market,” says Jhetam.

Commenting on the environmental impact of glass recycling, Jhetam says, “The glass recycling process saves more than a hundred thousand tons of CO2 emissions every year and with South Africa’s climate change obligations, the reduction of emissions and the ability of glass packaging to deliver truly sustainable environmental benefits should not be downplayed. Glass recycling is an important sustainability measure and is making a difference in addressing environmental impacts.”

To find out more about how TGRC has achieved a 230% growth in the annual volumes of glass recycled since 2006, read our previous article on glass recycling in South Africa.

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Amanda Botes