Two recent announcements — one in the U.S. and one in Canada — offer hope that markets for recycled glass from households will have opportunities to improve.
The Glass Manufacturing Industry Council, based in Ohio, announced a three part national plan last December that addresses glass-recycling challenges. Of particular interest, the plan includes formation of a new division to promote and advocate recovered glass containers in alternative products including concrete application, construction aggregates, drain media, blast media, decorative materials and art objects.
The second “sign” comes from Stewardship Ontario — an industry funding organization based in Ontario — that released a “Request for Expressions of Interest” (REOI) in March for interested bidders who can manage from 2,500 to 25,000 or more tonnes per year of residential mixed coloured glass. The organization plans to invest up to $2.5 million in the next year (and additional funds in the future if required) to promote “higher value end uses” (e.g., container glass, fiberglass, blast media and filter media).
These initiatives come at a critical time for glass. Finding alternative higher value end-users for post-consumer glass is the key to reducing the net cost of recycling this package through municipal curbside programs. For some regions, it will also serve to span the growing gap between the amount of glass recycled and amount used to make new glass containers. This percentage has been falling in Ontario, in particular, since 1999 when roughly three-quarters of recycled glass was made into new containers. Today, less than half makes its way back into new containers. (See article, page 46.)
Contact Damian Bassett at 416-594-3457, ext 3457 or visit www.csr.org (CSR Sheet located under “Publications”)