Glass recycling must therefore be the right decision, both ecologically and economically. Ever since the 1970s, Vetropack has been taking advantage of one of the useful properties of glass, in the interests of the environment and customers.
The recycling system for used glass, from Switzerland
The goal of a future-proof materials cycle is for all the raw materials to be brought back into the production process after the individual product has reached the end of its life-cycle.
Vetropack has been pursuing this goal since the 1970s. That was when we became the first company in Switzerland to set up a recycling system for used glass.
Today the company uses used glass consistently at all sites. In the Vetropack Group, recycled glass has now become the main raw material in glass production, over 60% on average across all national companies.
Together with partners, the company is improving the collection and reprocessing systems because it is important that glass of different colours should be collected separately. This is because, to make clear (flint) glass, you can only use clear cullet (broken glass).
Recycling saves resources. The advantages
Glass goes round in a materials cycle that is 100% closed. It can be endlessly reshaped into new bottles and jars, with no loss of quality. In 2009, glass recycling in Europe alone saved 13.8 million tonnes of primary raw materials.
Recycling improves the environmental balance
Reusing old glass has hugely improved the environmental balance of glass production in just a few decades: in the last 25 years, thanks to recycling and technological innovations.
The European glass packaging industry has reduced its CO2 emissions and waste production by 75%. There is simply less waste generated as a result of full recycling.
Two thirds of all glass bottles find their way into recycling containers in Europe every year – that is about 30 billion bottles that are turned back into high-quality glass packaging.
Recycling saves energy and CO2 emissions
Melting down used glass uses less energy than melting down the primary raw materials.
The higher the proportion of used glass, the greater the energy savings: for every 10% of recycled glass that is used, 3% of the energy and 7% of the CO2 emissions are saved.
The European glass packaging industry has reduced its CO2 emissions and waste production by 75%. (photo: Vetropack)
Sustainable life cycle: recycling makes glass attractive
Both customers and consumers have similar concerns: environmental considerations, health and the sustainable procurement of raw materials are important factors when they are making buying decisions.
Glass is a healthy, high-quality packaging material with a permanently sustainable life-cycle: glass is reused, over and over again.
Vetropack creates economic, environmental and social added value.
Glass recycling for packaging: bottling plants and retailers
Next it’s the turn of the bottling plants, the buyers of the glass packaging. Vetropack is familiar with their requirements and advises them on issues relating to filling technology.
On request, designers work together with the customer to develop bespoke glass packaging. Retailers bring the products to the market in disposable or reusable containers.
Glass packaging and dispatch
Packaging glass is delivered to the bottling plants stacked and shrinkwrapped on standardised pallets.
Packaging of the storage and transport units takes place to a large extent automatically. Vetropack has a proven track record in logistics, with large storage areas and warehouses at its disposal.
Quality testing: in the cooling tunnel the red-hot bottles are cooled under controlled conditions. This is an important process, because cooling them too quickly could lead to material stress.
Subsequently, each glass container is optically and mechanically checked. Random samples are subject to further testing in the lab.
Melting and forming
In the furnace, the raw materials and used glass are melted down to liquefied glass at a temperature of around 1,600 degrees Celsius.
Red-hot drops are cut from the viscous molten glass and in a first step are pre-formed and in a second step blown into finished glass containers.
Used glass and raw materials supply
It all starts with Mother Nature, because the main raw materials in glassmaking – quartz sand, lime, sodium carbonate, dolomite and feldspar – are naturally available in almost unlimited supply.
Furthermore, via bottle banks and recycling plants used glass containers find their way back to the glassworks where they are recycled and used in the production of new packaging glass.
Depending on the kind of container – disposable or reusable – the used glass is returned to the retailer or collected in bottle banks for recycling.
From the recycling plants, it comes full circle back to the glassworks, where it is used in the production of new packaging glass.
Glass bottles and glass packaging disigned with customers
Vetropack manufactures and supplies top quality glass bottles to customers in the food and beverage industry.
Custom designed glass containers are designed in close cooperation with customers.
The designs may be based on our Vetropack drafts, customers‘ ideas or concepts by externally commissioned designers, some samples:
- Glass beer bottles, ideal preservation for the brewing art. The unique properties of glass beer bottles guarantee 100% beer enjoyment. Glass bottles optimally preserve the beer’s carbon dioxide content for a long time, ensuring the taste and quality of the beer remain the same. Vetropack beer bottles are available as standard glass bottles or customized models that give your beer a unique appearance.
- Wine and sparkling wine bottles in noble glass: Vetropack produces wine and sparkling wine glass bottles of different shapes, colours and sizes. The glass ensures enjoyment until the last sip – the sparkling wines sparkle, the white and rosé wines stay crisp, and the red wines retain their unique aroma.
- Glass bottles retain the “spirit” of spirits: spirits, schnapps, and liqueurs are often made according to secret recipes and always with a lot of love. Glass bottles preserve the spirits for a taste sensation until the last drop.
Glass bottles for mineral water and soft drinks: Vetropack packages all thirst-quenching drinks in glass bottles. No matter whether it’s a standard bottle or custom glass packaging, Vetropack offers the perfect protection for soft drinks and mineral water. The range of glass bottles goes from the 0.25-litre bottle to the 1-litre bottle, either disposable or reusable. There are no limits to the color spectrum – white, green and blue in all shades are very popular.
- Glass bottles for fruit juice to preserve vitamins, flavours and colours of their content. The glass bottle acts as an aromatic vault so that, even after long storage, the original taste of the juice and the quality of the product remain intact.
- Glass jars for canning: Vetropack’s wide neck glass jars are ideal for fruit and vegetable canning. The food is perfectly preserved and the large opening allows easy access to the content.
- Glass jars for spreads: whether sweet, salty or spicy, nothing preserves the taste of spreads better than wide neck glass jars. Jam, marmalade, and honey in glass jars are the stars of the breakfast table. The variety of shapes and sizes is virtually limitless.
- Glass jars for meat and fish: meat and fish are bottled in wide neck jars to make them keep longer. Whether it’s a snack or an accompaniment to other mouth-watering dishes – canned meat and fish are always a welcome change.
- Vinegar and oil in glass bottles: vinegar and oil add taste to many dishes. There is a bottle of each on almost every table. Vetropack offers both standard glass bottles and custom models in its range for vinegar and oil – from round and angular to octagonal.
- Glass bottles and containers for sauces: sauces in glass bottles and other glass packaging with wide openings are very convenient. They complement other dishes, are reclosable, and hold well in the hand.
- Glass jars for baby food: wide neck glass jars are perfect packaging for natural and nourishing products such as baby food because they are hygienic and airtight. This preserves and protects the content. Glass is the safest packaging material for baby food.
- Glass bottles and jars for dairy products: more and more dairy products, from milk and yoghurt to kefir, sour milk, cream and crème fraîche, find their way into glass packaging products. Glass products retain their pure and natural taste.