EVEN a casual visit to a bottle bank quickly reveals a lot about a changed Ireland, and no scientific research is needed. The first observation is we’ve become very partial to wine, the other is we’ve taken to glass recycling with gusto.
Given that our consumption has increased six-fold in just over 20 years, we certainly need ways of disposing of all those bottles. According to the Irish Wine Association, 8.9 million cases were consumed here in 2012. At 12 bottles per case, that amounts to a staggering 106.8m bottles.! In 1990, we drank a temperate 1.7m cases, or just over 20m bottles.
We’re still not the biggest wine drinkers in Europe, trailing far behind countries like France and Denmark, but we are ranked one of the best in Europe for glass recycling, according to Rehab Glassco, Ireland’s largest glass recycling company.
The average Irish family consumes the contents of around 500 glass bottles and jars each year. Glass is 100 per cent recyclable and can be endlessly recycled with no loss in quality.
Up to 90% of new glass can be made from recycled glass and most bottles and jars contain at least 25 per cent recycled glass European figures show that Ireland is now tenth in the EU with a glass recycling rate of 81.20%, well above the EU average of 70%, with a slight increase in the rate of glass recycling this year. Belgium leads the way, recycling a hugely impressive 98.65% of its glass.
In the first eight months of 2013, on average 41 glass bottles and jars were recycled per head of population compared to an average of 40 in the same period in 2012. In the period from Jan 1 — Aug 31, Rehab Glassco facilitated the collection and recycling of over 242 million bottles, jars and cans. These statistics indicate that recycling habits continue to improve.
Galway city dwellers are the top recyclers for the third year running with deposits of 54 bottles or jars for every man, woman and child in the city. The people of Leitrim are the next best recyclers with an average each of 53 items of glass recycled per person. For the third year running, Tesco Ardkeen in Waterford city is the busiest Rehab Glassco bring site, with 278 tonnes of glass deposited there so far this year.
David Farrelly, Rehab Glassco, says: “These figures show that recycling is now part of the routine for households. We have met and exceeded the EU targets and this was made possible by everyone from households to businesses to recycling operators like ourselves at Rehab Glassco working together to achieve the high standard.”
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