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Recycled glass is not just green, it also pays off

Recycled glass is not just green, it also pays off
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In the EU, seven out of 10 bottles are recycled, but it is far from easy.

First, the bottles must be sorted. Euronews watched the process as a plant in Anvers in Belgium, which treats around 250,000 tonnes of glass each year.

Mathieu Berthoud, head of the SITA factory in Belgium explains what happens: ‘‘There are a number of things which have to be extracted from this glass. You have plastic, metal tops, a lot of paper and labels. All this has to be taken out during the separation and production process.’‘

Magnets lift out the metal, while all the other rubbish is removed by hand at a rate of 50 tonnes an hour.

After that, machines step in to sort the glass more precisely.

The factory uses the latest cutting-edge technology to separate the glass according to colour and also take out any other debris that has not already been removed.

The process is so quick that it is invisible to the naked eye. While small inbuilt cameras detect the glass colour, air cannons blow any debris in to bins.

By the end of the chain the green, brown and clear glass has all been separated. It means that once treated the glass is much easier to sell to customers with specific needs.

For example champagne producers. The bottle factory in Epernay France makes some 650,000 champagne bottles a day from recycled glass. At around 50 euros a tonne, it is not only cheaper, it is also more environmentally friendly. Remelting and reshaping old glass is far less energy intensive. It can also be recycled indefinitely.