Solid Waste & Recycling


O-I letter castigates Ontario recycling system

Through its Canadian subsidiary O-I Canada Corporation, glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois (O-I) has written its com...

Through its Canadian subsidiary O-I Canada Corporation, glass manufacturer Owens-Illinois (O-I) has written its comments to the Stewardship Ontario Blue Box Funding Review Committee. The document is posted on our website under Posted Documents (at O-I operates two large glass recycling plants in Ontario.

The document constitutes something of a scathing indictment of the current Ontario curbside recycling system, at least as it applies to glass containers. The document also sheds light on problems that stem from single-stream recycling — a current trend.

The five-page letter pulls no punches and states: “…glass recycling in Ontario is failing and failing badly.”

“Single-stream” blue box collection of recyclables means that more glass is being sent to landfill today than just a year ago, the letter says. Ironically, as Ontario ships millions of tonnes of garbage to Michigan each year for disposal, O-I Canada is importing cullet derived from Michigan’s deposit-refund based recovery system to manufacture glass packaging in Ontario.

Rather than address the problem of low glass recycling rates, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), O-I says, the single largest source of waste glass in the province, is coercing its suppliers to switch to Tetra Pak cartons that are recovered at a rates of only 12.7 per cent (or one-fifth the rate at which glass is recovered by the blue box today).

“While low-weight packaging with a low recovery rate certainly offers the LCBO lower
applicable stewardship fees, it comes at a tremendous cost to Ontario’s environment and economy,” the letter states.

Based in Toledo, Ohio, O-I is the largest manufacturer of glass containers in the world, with leading positions in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and South America. For more information about the company, visit

EDITOR’S NOTE: The forthcoming February/March edition of Solid Waste & Recycling magazine will contain detailed editorial comment on the LCBO glass and Tetra Pak issue. Additionally, readers will want to watch the online diaries (blogs) on this website for additional analysis of the glass recycling issue in the days to come.

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