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Boosting Glass Recycling in Europe: Challenges, Progress and the Role of MSW Glass Recovery

Boosting Glass Recycling in Europe: Challenges, Progress and the Role of MSW Glass Recovery
5 May 2023  |
Glass recycling is a crucial aspect of sustainable waste management in Europe. However, recycling rates vary significantly across countries, with some regions facing challenges in establishing selective glass collection systems.

This article compares the glass recycling rates in Spain, Germany, and Romania, highlights the challenges in increasing glass recycling, and emphasizes the importance of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) glass recovery. We also discuss the role of innovative solutions like ECOGLASS by PICVISA in driving up glass recycling rates.

Current State of Glass Recycling in Europe:

In 2022, Spain achieved a historic record for glass recycling, with 939,094 tons collected through green containers – a 6.2% increase compared to the previous year. In Germany, despite its well-developed waste management system, the glass recycling rate has stagnated in recent years in a high percentage of 80-90% and an estimated 2.2 million tons recycled in 2022. In contrast, Romania has one of the lowest glass recycling rates in Europe, with only 60,000 tons of glass recycled in 2022, which is about 13% of the country’s total glass waste generated.

Challenges in Increasing Recycled Glass Tonnage:

  1. Inadequate recycling infrastructure: Underdeveloped recycling infrastructure in countries like Romania hinders efficient glass recycling.
  2. Limited government incentives: Some regions lack government policies and financial incentives to promote and support the glass recycling industry.
  3. Insufficient MSW glass recovery: In countries where selective glass collection is not well-established, a significant amount of glass ends up in MSW, requiring effective recovery methods.
  4. High market demand for recycled glass: The glass container manufacturing sector requires more recycled material, which can drive competition and create pressure on recycling facilities to meet the demand.

MSW Glass Recovery and PICVISA:

Spain’s success in MSW glass recovery demonstrates its potential for addressing the challenges mentioned above. In 2022, Spain recovered 73,720 tons of glass from MSW that was not correctly deposited in green containers. PICVISA, a leading provider of optical sorting technology, plays a significant role in this process, with 70% of Spain’s MSW glass sorted using their optical sorters. PICVISA is now extending its reach to Portugal, where it is developing its first project for MSW glass recovery.


PICVISA’s ECOGLASS technology offers a promising solution for increasing glass recycling rates across Europe.

ECOGLASS uses advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to efficiently sort and process glass waste. Its ability to sort glass by color results in higher market value and demand for recycled glass, leading to increased recycling rates.

Europe faces several challenges in increasing the tons of recycled glass across the region. MSW glass recovery is a crucial factor in overcoming these challenges, as demonstrated by Spain’s success. By leveraging innovative solutions like ECOGLASS and investing in MSW glass recovery, Europe can promote sustainable waste management practices and boost glass recycling rates.

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PICVISA is an innovative technology-based company that offers solutions based on robotics, artificial intelligence and machine vision to the national and international markets. We design, develop and produce selection and classification equipment for valuable materials. Our equipment can select...