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Recycling

The glass packaging industry relies on businesses in the hospitality industry to provide high-quality recovered glass containers for use in the manufacture of new glass bottles and jars. Bars, restaurants, and hotels offer a readily available and abundant source for recycled glass. 

According to a 2011 National Restaurant Association survey, 65% of restaurateurs have recycling programs, and another 19% of full service operators plan to start one in the next year. While restaurateurs are recycling a variety of materials, 68% of full service restaurants and 52% of quick service recycle glass bottles.

And an in-depth survey of ten bar, restaurant, and hotel glass container recycling programs in eight states found that partnerships are key. In addition to collecting data on containers and processes, economic details, and logistics, the survey also identifies eight “best practices” that have come out of these trail-blazing programs.  According to the 2011 survey, the average amount of glass collected through a bar, restaurant, hotel recycling program is about 150 tons/month, with an average of 100 participating businesses in each surveyed program.

For all results, download the Executive Summary and complete report, "Survey of U.S. Glass Container Recycling Programs for Bars, Restaurants, and Hotels."

To expand sources for high-quality cullet, glass manufacturers are encouraging glass bottle recycling in commercial settings, including bars, restaurants, wineries, hotels, and other on-premise locations. About 18% of beverages are consumed on premise, and glass makes up to about 80% of that container mix. So these retail businesses are a good source of clean, high-quality recycled glass.

Check out what’s happening with bar/restaurant recycling across the U.S.:

Corporate Hospitality
Atlanta, GA
— The Atlanta Hyatt Regency is just one of many restaurants and hotels that are working to be compliant with the challenge. Restaurants in Atlanta, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Fifth Group Restaurants are also stepping up to recycle glass containers as well as other green initiatives.

Las Vegas, NV — In 2011, the MGM Resorts International hotel group broke the 10 million pounds of glass recycled mark at 10 of their Las Vegas hotel properties. They expect to exceed that for in 2012.

Local Bar/Restaurants
Indianapolis, IN — Started in 2008, Broad Ripple Village, a commercial district in a north Indianapolis neighborhood, has expanded glass bottle recycling to 14 ten bars and restaurants and bringing in about 20 ton/month.

Hamilton County, OH — Since the fall of 2010, Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, Ohio, has offered assistance to bars and restaurants that want to recycle glass bottles and jars. Today, 34 bars and restaurants are participating, with a goal to reach 50 by end of summer 2011.

St. Louis, MO — “There are two primary items that restaurants and food services have that don’t typically get recycled—glass bottles and food waste,” says Harry Cohen, owner of Blue Skies Recycling in St. Louis, MO and Louisville, KY. So Cohen signed up the St. Louis Cardinals and over 30 local restaurants to help keep these valuable commodities from going to the landfill.

North Carolina — In 2008, NC passed a law requiring all Alcohol Beverage Permit holders to recycle their beverage containers. In 2011, over 86,000 tons of glass containers were collected for recycling (up from about 45,000 tons/year before the law).

Resources for Bar/Restaurant Recycling:  

1. Download a fact sheet to help bars, restaurants, and hotels kick-start glass bottle recycling.

2. Download a kit to help bars and restaurants kick-start glass recycling.

3. Use a simple worksheet to estimate the amount of glass generated at a business.

4. Download art for print and online ads, posters, and T-shirts. And, visit the Partnership for Bar and Restaurant Recycling for resources on getting the right bins, contracting with a recycler, and more.

5. Download a logo for menus, table tents, napkins, coasters, stickers to let customers know “We Recycle Glass Bottles”.

Click Here to view a list of State Recycling Organizations (SROs).  This list was developed by GPI to provide information to individuals, communities, municipalities and businesses seeking information on where and how to recycle glass.  As recycling is often a local issue, the SROs have a wealth of in-state information on collection, sorting, processing and end markets for recycled glass.

Find a Recycling Center »

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Through GPI, glass container manufacturers speak with one voice to advocate industry standards, promote sound environmental and recycling policies, and educate packaging professionals. Learn More