Innovation That Matters

Using 100 per cent recycled glass and manufacturing with biofuels could change the glass industry forever | Photo source Crystal Jo on Unsplash

Use of biofuels could lead to zero-carbon glass


A new process in glass manufacturing could create bottles with zero carbon emissions over their lifecycle

Spotted: A glass-making company in Northern Ireland has created what they claim is the world’s most sustainable glass bottle. The company, Encirc, has developed a way to make new bottles out of 100 per cent recycled glass. On top of this, the manufacturing process used to create the bottles only uses energy derived from burning ultra-low-carbon biofuels.

Compared to plastic, glass makes much more sustainable packaging, as it can be recycled indefinitely in a closed-loop cycle and contains abundant raw materials. However, the production process in glass manufacturing is energy-intensive and can lead to high carbon emissions. Recent research has shown that, because of this energy expenditure, glass could actually end up being worse for the environment than plastic.

By using biofuels to power the manufacturing process, Encirc claims that they can reduce the carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90 per cent. Although glass can be reused up to 20 times, most bottles are thrown away after just one use, and so Encirc is also focusing on using recycled glass and encouraging people to recycle their glass bottles.

Fiacre O’Donnell, Director of Sustainability and Vidrala, Encirc’s parent company, has said the results from the biofuel trial “paint a very bright and sustainable future for our industry. We’re also looking into the development of hydrogen, and advancements in electric melting to truly discover the future of glass production. 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.”

Packaging sustainability is the goal of a wide number of innovations that have recently been covered here at Springwise. These have included initiatives such as bottles made from a combination of paper and plastic and a fully biodegradable computer.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Manufacturing Innovations | Sustainability Innovations



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