What is Cullet?

Cullet is recycled broken or waste glass used in glass-making


O-I Glass strongly believes that environmental stewardship and a strong bottom line are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the incorporation of volumes of cullet is really good for the community, the environment and for business, if structured correctly.

Case in point. O-I has a strong Australian manufacturing footprint covering South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland – all positioned to answer the needs of its customers – yet an opportunity existed to better fulfil cullet needs of the manufacturing plant in Queensland.

In June 2014 a partnership between O-I and Australian Packaging Covenant announced the development of a cullet producing plant to be built in Brisbane to serve the recycled glass needs of the region. The site would be built from the ground up, sorting equipment purchased and regular feed of recyclable glass sorted.

Today the site is the only Australian facility that has processing capabilities for three types of cullet processing.


Optical Processing
  • the first stage is a clean-up and drying system where paper, plastic and organics are removed. Using state of the art technology to remove contaminates and sorting the glass into two colour streams – flint or clear glass and a mix of amber and green glass we call Gramber.
Fine Grind 
  • glass that is less than 8mm thick is dried, organics removed and ground down to a furnace ready grind.
Flat Glass Crushing
  • laminated and flat glass is crushed and laminate is removed producing furnace ready cullet.

The Brisbane Cullet plant now represents some $5.9m of investment by its partners and is the largest investment of its type in Queensland. It is responsible for the creation of 20 new jobs in the area, and processes over 100,000 tonnes of recycled glass per year. Glass that would normally be either down-cycled or sent to a landfill.

The history of glass recycling in Australia


Glass recycling network (agents) set up across Australia to collect colour sorted glass following the introduction of single serve containers.


Introduction of commingled kerbside collection. Cullet processing facilities introduced to address cullet quality. Significant investment in recycling promotion and education.


First large scale optical sorting facility built in VIC to better process commingled cullet.


Foundation member of Packaging Stewardship Forum (AU) and Glass Packaging Forum (NZ).


Introduction of fine grind cullet (<1mm) across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to utilise glass fines from a commingled system. First optical sorting facility in Auckland.


Flat glass recycling introduced in Brisbane. Second optical sorting facility built in Victoria. Global Sustainability target set – 60% post consumer cullet. Glass only (colour separated) kerbside collection introduced across major NZ cities (Wellington and Dunedin).


First optical sorting facility built in NSW. Flat glass recycling introduced in Auckland. Fine grind facility introduced in Auckland.


Brisbane cullet optical sorting facility built by O-I in QLD. Additional pyro-ceramic detection equipment in NSW and VIC. Fine fraction sort plant implemented in NSW (2mm-8mm fraction). Import of First Solar cullet from Malaysia.


Polytrade established first optical sort plant in Melbourne to service Adelaide and Melbourne market. Established new flat glass supplier in Melbourne. Established transport hubs in South Island New Zealand. Container Deposit Legislation announced fro NSW, QLD, WA.