By Cetie
The 01/02/2024

All glass is recyclable… but some glass containers are easier to recycle than others.

On the whole, the situation is very simple: glass containers are all made of the same material which is soda-lime glass (except for a few very specific pharmaceutical applications), and through recycling, glass regains all characteristics of brand-new glass.  

If we go into more detail, however, some glass containers pose more of a problem than others, and we might wonder to what extent brand owners could take these constraints into account to optimize recycling.

It is hard to make any objective analysis of the subject: On the one hand, if you ask the recyclers what complicates their work, a lot of constraining factors will come to light. On the other hand, if you look at what reduces the recyclability rate, most recyclers have virtually nothing to show for it.

In Cetie, we have received many questions and suggestions to answer the question “Until which opacity is it possible to recycle a glass container”.

This very simple question comes from the fact that one of the first steps in the treatment of glass for recycling consists in optically separating GLASS (which is deemed to be transparent) from OTHER MATERIALS (which are seen as opaque, or more opaque). And we have also received very different answers, showing that a consensus is not clear on this subject.

This issue is part of the more general “Design for Recycling” framework, mandated by the forthcoming Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). This European regulation calls for a clear answer, to the question “What rules are applicable to get a product recyclable”, and the answer should be integrated into a very concrete table showing which characteristics make the product “easy to recycle” (=Green column), or “difficult to recycle” (=Yellow column) or “unrecyclable” (=Red column = forbidden on the market). This Green/Yellow/Red table will be the core of a European standard.

This topic came from the working group Flaconnage Decoration, starting from very opaque decorative coatings, but it is clear that it concerns the whole glass container industry (not only decoration, and not only flaconnage, so). That’s why we opened a new working group dedicated to this question of opaque glass and recycling as a starting point. The scope of the group is wider, to deal with other rules around recycling if necessary (elements difficult to remove, for example, labels, or specific closures, etc.).

For more information about this dynamic group: don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
Whether you have questions, need further details, or are eager to explore membership opportunities, our team at Cetie is here to assist you.
Contact-us at

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Good morning, it is not possible to confirm the attendence for the next meeting(s)...!?
Best regards, Martin Schorn, Heinz Glas
The 07/03/2024 by SCHORN Martin
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