Recycled Glass Market: Introduction

The global recycled glass market was valued at ~US$ 2.6 Bn in 2018 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of ~7% during the forecast period. Glass cullet can be used in place of silica, limestone, soda ash, and other ingredients to manufacture new glass bottles or fiberglass. When glass is recycled, it is cleaned, sterilized, dried, sorted by color, and reduced to sizes that range from pebbles to sand and even powder. Glass fines are used in asphalt, construction and road aggregates, concrete aggregate, and insulation batts as well as in sand/abrasive grit blasting, sports turf/drainage, brickmaking, and water filtration. Glass fines are used as abrasives and several recycling companies use lower-quality glass as roadbed or aggregate.

Key Drivers of Recycled Glass Market

Recycled glass is employed in a variety of applications. Demand for glass cullet is significantly high in the fiberglass insulation industry and it is used for residential, commercial, and industrial fiberglass applications. According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), which is the trade association for manufacturers of fiberglass and rock and slag wool (mineral wool) insulation based in North America, fiberglass insulation manufacturers are the second-highest consumers of mixed bottle cullet in the U.S., next only to glass container manufacturers. Fiberglass is utilized in diverse applications such as building insulation, pipe insulation, aerospace, appliances, and automotive.

Manufacturers of fiberglass are focused on increasing the content of recycled glass in their products. This would not only decrease the amount of community landfill waste, but would also lower the energy use during the production of insulation, as raw materials such as sand require higher amount of energy.

The Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC) and North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) are supporting the glass recycling industry as well as the entire glass recycling supply chain for fiberglass insulation. The factors mentioned above indicate that rise in the demand for fiberglass insulation in North America boosts the demand for recycled glass in the region.

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Bottles & Containers to Offer Lucrative Opportunities

Among applications, bottles & containers was the most rapidly expanding segment of the global recycled glass market in 2018. Recycled glass is primarily used in bottles and containers. Demand for recycled glass in the glass container industry is significant, owing to high demand by companies producing glass bottles for beverages such as wine, beer, and even water.  Recycled glass is also used in the manufacture of abrasive grades of glass. Abrasive grades of recycled glass are used in all major blasting industries, such as shipyards (steel/aluminum), tanks/pipelines, concrete restoration (pre-cast concrete), wood/log homes, auto-restoration, slurry/vapor blasting, and dustless and wet blasting.