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UK glass manufacturer creates 'world’s most sustainable glass bottle'

Published:  09 February, 2021

Glass container manufacturer Encirc has create what it claims to be the world’s most sustainable glass bottle. 

The business said that a project, undertaken in partnership with research and technology organisation Glass Futures, had proven that new bottles are able to be made from 100% recycled glass, using only the energy from burning ultra-low-carbon biofuels.

Made out of waste organic materials, biofuels are a renewable and much more sustainable fuel source than those traditionally used by the glass sector, and can reduce the carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90%.

By using up to 100% recycled glass to create the new bottles, Encirc said the trial had been able to “even further minimise the lifetime impact of these products”.

Referring to the project as a “world-first initiative”, Encirc said it would pave the way for an industry-wide reduction in carbon emissions, as the glass sector moves away from fossil fuels, and towards low-carbon alternatives.

“The results we’re seeing from this biofuel trial are truly remarkable, and paint a very bright and sustainable future for our industry. By working with Glass Futures, we have helped pioneer the development of a glass bottle which is net-zero-ready, meaning it will truly have no negative impact on the environment throughout its entire lifecycle,” said Fiacre O’Donnell, director of sustainability, Vidrala (Encirc’s parent company).

The company was also looking into the development of hydrogen, and advancements in electric melting to “truly discover” the future of glass production”, he added.

"These ultra-low-CO2 containers we’re making are being produced for some of the biggest names in the drinks industry, showing how united we all are in our quest for total sustainability,” he said.   

Adrian Curry, MD at Encirc added: “This is a truly momentous occasion for glass. We have set the standard globally with this trial and now the glass industry needs to work towards realising what we’ve proved is possible. We now know that glass can be the most sustainable of all packaging types and must all work together to ensure that happens.”

More in-depth results from the trial, taking place at one of Encirc’s plants in Derrylin Northern Ireland, are expected to come in over the next few weeks and will feed into UK Government policy around decarbonisation. 

The project forms part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Energy Innovation Programme.