British Glass and Glass Technology Services Ltd are leading work on increasing glass recycling from buildings as part of the FISSAC consortium.

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The UK living labs bring together key stakeholders involved in building glass recycling, to help them understand the challenges facing the different parts of the supply chain, and to promote discussion to catalyse practical solutions through collaboration.

The building glass recycling challenge and opportunity

Each year in Europe thousands of tonnes of flat glass (such as from windows and building facades) ends up in landfill, or being used for aggregate. Waste glass is generated during the manufacture of windows and during refurbishment or demolition of buildings.

The amount recycled varies across Europe; we believe less than one third is currently recycled in the UK.

If more of this material could be collected, it could be recycled back into new glass products (closed-loop recycling), or used in high-value alternative applications such as in eco-cement and eco-concrete.

Using more recycled glass (cullet) means less raw material mining, lower energy use and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, each tonne of cullet used to make new glass saves around 246 kg of CO2 emissions. It could also be a business advantage for companies to improve their waste management practices by recycling more glass.

Although it is technically possible to recycle glass from buildings, up to now it has been difficult to prevent contamination when collecting the glass, and to transport the waste glass in a financially viable way to where it can be processed. The scale and complexity of the challenge means that no single stakeholder has the power to create change alone: collaboration is vital. That’s why the Living Lab is a powerful tool to solve this challenge.

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(Image Credit: Vasin Lee /