The recycling rate for all glass packaging in the 2015/16 financial year increased by 41.1%, with more than 80%, or 2.77 t, of all glass bottles being diverted from landfills, according to the latest figures released by glass-recycling promotion organisation The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC).
TGRC released its financial year performance statistics at its yearly Green Dialogues event, which took place at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club last month.
A key enabler behind the increased volumes of glass being recycled was placing an additional 249 recycling banks around South Africa, increasing the total number of national banks to more than 4 000. TGRC also trained 546 new glass-recycling-associated entrepreneurs to extend skills and expertise in the expanding glass-recycling industry.
TGRC claims that about one-million cubic metres of landfill were saved during the 2015/16 financial year by diverting eight out of ten glass-packaging products from landfill.
Also, TGRC claims that recycling such a vast amount of glass has resulted in 3.1-million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions having been curtailed. This volume of emissions reduction represents a decrease of 225 000 t of CO2 through glass recycling. A further 2.9-million tons of CO2 have been saved through TGRC’s returnable bottling system, in which used bottles are cleaned and reused without having to be broken and remanufactured.
Speaking at the Green Dialogues event, TGRC CEO Shabeer Jhetam explained that recycling all food and beverage glass packaging is incrementally increasing, as is TGRC’s influence. “We are passionate about fulfilling the mandate of reducing glass waste in South Africa and diverting glass products from landfills into a new product life cycle.”
He also showcased the typical life cycle of a glass-packaging product and glass’s ability to reduce carbon emissions and contribute positively to slowing climate change. In addition, Jhetam said that water can be conserved through glass recycling, thereby contributing to cleaner oceans.