Over the past year, recycling industry stakeholders and governments have taken a renewed interest in how recycling and recovery rates are measured for packaging, including glass containers and other recyclable materials.
Today in the U.S., 10 states operate beverage container deposit refund programs (BCDRPs), which provide the most consistent source of quality recycled glass (cullet) for the glass container industry. It’s estimated that these programs supply anywhere from 65-80% of the recycled glass used to make new bottles and jars. Similar to sand, soda ash and limestone, recycled glass is a critical manufacturing input.
The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), along with beverage leaders—including Diageo and New Belgium Brewing—and the glass processing and recycling industries, have gathered a dynamic group of organizations to advance glass recycling in the U.S. Called the U.S. Glass Recycling Coalition, the nearly two dozen member organizations will aim to make glass recycling a successful industry, as well as the efficient, high-quality, and convenient service consumers want and expect.
As frequent readers of this column know, the glass container manufacturing industry has a consistent and strong demand for recycled glass at its 45 glass plants across the U.S. In 2015, glass manufacturers purchased 2.4 million tons of recycled glass for remelting into new containers.
About 80% of the U.S. population has access to single-stream curbside recycling collection, which is accompanied by issues of contamination and often ineffective recovery, especially for glass containers.