In an announcement that can be read as a veiled endorsement of deposit-refund systems for beverage containers, the glass container industry says its companies and thousands of employees recognize the growing importance of protecting the environment and conserving valuable energy resources. In recognition of the environmental value of post-consumer cullet, or recycled glass, member companies of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) have agreed to the goal of using at least 50 per cent recycled glass in the manufacture of new glass bottles and jars by 2013.
New U.S. EPA data shows the glass recycling rate has already jumped to 28.1 per cent in 2007, up three percentage points from 2006 (25.3 per cent). With this new momentum, an estimated 3.2 million tons were recovered compared to 2.9 million in 2006. Using the EPA’s benefits calculator, GPI estimates energy savings from using 50 per cent recycled content in all glass packages manufactured in the U.S. could save enough energy to power over 45,000 households for a year.
“This is certainly a powerful statement by the glass industry about its intent to work with other stakeholders to improve cradle-to-cradle recycling,” said Rich Crawford, GPI’s Board Chairman, and President of Global Glass Operations, O-I. “Like glass itself, this recycling goal is good for consumers and families as well as the environment.”
GPI has long been committed to and engaged in promoting recycling in the U.S. Its member companies were early proponents of drop off collection centers and then later, curbside recycling. The industry has actively supported efforts to improve single stream curbside best practices that maintain glass containers as a viable commodity grade product suitable for bottle-to-bottle recycling. GPI plans to accelerate support of legislative and regulatory measures that will dramatically improve glass recycling systems in order to reach these environmental goals.
“The glass container industry has been a leading advocate of improved recycling in California,” says Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. “We applaud GPI for setting an ambitious goal to take comprehensive, pro-active steps to achieve a higher recovery rate nationally.”
GPI and its members actively support on-premise bar, restaurant, and hotel recycling initiatives. More than 28 per cent of beverages packaged in glass are sold in restaurants and other away-from-home venues. Glass container manufacturers also support innovative curbside collection practices and will continue to work with policymakers to improve and expand state beverage deposit programs.
“One of the outstanding environmental benefits of glass containers is that they are endlessly recyclable, and can be made with up to 100 per cent recycled content,” said Joseph Cattaneo, President of the Glass Packaging Institute. “Reuse of post-consumer recycled container glass is critical to our glass container industry and its environmental and energy efficiency goals. This cullet use is also an integral part of the cradle-to-cradle aspects of glass manufacturing. We are prepared to embrace all measures that efficiently and cost-effectively improve glass recovery.”
The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) is the trade association representing the North American glass container industry. Through GPI, glass container manufacturers speak with one voice to advocate industry standards, promote sound environmental policies and educate packaging professionals. GPI members include Anchor Glass Container Corporation; Cameron Family Glass Packaging, LLC; Gallo Glass; Kelman Bottles, LLC; Leone Industries; Longhorn Glass Corporation; Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I); Rocky Mountain Bottle Company (RMBC); Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc. (SGCI); and Vitro Packaging.
For more information, visit www.gpi.org