Ardagh glass plant

Glass manufacturer Ardagh has signed an agreement with United Resource Management division Reuse to initially invest £5m in sorting and separation technology.

The partnership will enable both companies to make more use of the glass that is recycled in homes and businesses throughout Yorkshire and the North of England.

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The technology consists of a four-stage process. Medium-sized organic and loose ferrous metals are removed first, followed by a drying section to remove dust and smaller materials. The third stage sees the removal of residual metallic, leaded glass and materials that burn at much higher temperatures compared to container glass such as pyrex. Finally, the remaining material is subjected to cleaning prior to being separated by colour through further cleaning, purification and optical sorting.

The end-product known as cullet is later on supplied to Ardagh as the recycled glass for use in its furnaces in order to manufacture new bottles and jars.

Ardagh Glass Europe marketing head Sharon Crayton said: "We have been producing green bottles that contain over 90% recycled glass for many years, but high recycling levels for clear (flint) glass have previously posed a challenge due to difficulties in colour-separating clear glass back to a pure enough colour at the required quality specification. This new technology has put us at the forefront of UK recycling, helping us to significantly increase the recycled content for clear bottles and jars."

The new Reuse glass sorting and separation facilities have a total capacity of 250,000t of waste glass.

Image: Ardagh’s glass plant in Knottingley, West Yorkshire. Photo: courtesy of Ardagh Group S.A.