In recent years, the green glass market has been heavily impacted by local conditions. The underlying issue, both here and in parts of Europe, is due to regional imbalances between the quantities of green glass recovered from the waste stream (stemming largely from used alcoholic beverage containers) and the demand for green glass cullet from domestic glass manufacturers.
In Ontario, for example, post consumer green glass was consistently selling in the low to mid $40s per metric tonne from 1991 to 1996. Beginning with 1996, the market value started a slow descent into the mid-$20s. But the real problem occurred in 2001 when Consumer’s Glass (now owned by O-I Canada Corporation) began the process of reorganizing and moving its green beer bottle production out of Ontario, causing a precipitous drop in both demand and pricing. The situation has yet to be resolved and, today, green glass is moving in Ontario for negative revenues of $15 to $30/tonne, delivered.
Alberta and British Columbia have enjoyed more stability than Ontario in green glass outlets with several regional purchasers including O-I Canada Corporation, Vitreous, and Harvey Enterprise. But even at $10/tonne (FOB manufacturing plant), revenues remain low partly because of the availability of low-cost alternative feedstocks.
It is our hope that development of locally-based alternative recycled glass markets such as fiberglass insulation, filtration media, construction aggregates, blast cleaning, filler material and decorative uses will produce more stability in green glass recycled outlets and, subsequently, higher market value in the years to come.
For more information, contact Damian Bassett at 416-594-3456, extension 229 or visit www.csr.org (the CSR Sheet is located under “Publications”).
Source: “The Price Sheet,” CSR: Corporations Supporting Recycling.