Is the world’s most sustainable bottle made of glass? Encirc, a glass manufacturer in Northern Ireland, is answering that question with a resounding, “YES!”
In partnership with Glass Futures, a non-profit focused on making glass the low-carbon material of choice, Encirc has successfully developed new bottles made from 100% recycled glass using only the energy from burning ultra-low carbon biofuels.
What are Biofuels?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, biofuels are “liquid fuels produced from renewable biological sources, including plants and algae.” Biofuels have low carbon emissions and can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
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How Can Biofuels Improve Glass Production?
We already know glass is a sustainable container solution. Unlike plastic, glass can be recycled over and over endlessly without loss in quality or purity. Additionally, glass is made mostly of raw material like sand and glass waste, and since the glass recycling system is closed-loop, no additional waste or by-products are created in the process.
Read More: Sustainable Glass – Reuse and Recycle
The problem? The process to turn those raw materials into glass requires a massive amount of energy. And unfortunately, most glass bottles are thrown away after one use, rendering the recyclable features of glass mostly ineffective. In fact, one recent study found that the energy and resources required to manufacture glass may ultimately make it 4 times worse for the environment then plastic.
According to Ecirc, switching from fossil fuels to biofuels can reduce the carbon footprint of each glass bottle by up to 90%.
As the glass sector as a whole makes efforts to move from fossil fuels to low-CO2 alternatives, Ecirc and Glass Futures hope that their ground-breaking initiative will pave the way for an industry-wide reduction in carbon emissions.
Read More: The Future of Glass