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Recycling

Recycling glass is easy, and glass containers returned for recycling help to make new glass bottles and jars. Recycling glass has big environmental pay offs. It saves raw materials, lessens demand for energy, and cuts CO2 emissions.

Environmental Facts

Glass can be recycled endlessly with no loss in quality or purity. An estimated 80% of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles. In 2012, 41% of glass beer and soft drink bottles were recycled, over 34% of wine and liquor bottles, and over 34% of all glass containers. In some states, like California, glass bottle recycling reaches over 80%.* 

* Sources: U.S. EPA, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2012; and California Department of Conservation.

Unmatched Environmental Benefits

  • Recycling glass containers provides for unmatched production efficiencies and significant environmental benefits:
  • Saves raw materials — Over a ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar.
  • Lessens the demand for energy — Energy costs drop about 2-3% for every 10% cullet used in the manufacturing process.
  • Cuts CO2 emissions — For every six tons of recycled container glass used, a ton of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is reduced. A relative 10% increase in cullet reduces particulates by 8%, nitrogen oxide by 4%, and sulfur oxides by 10%.
  • Extends furnace life — Including cullet in the manufacturing mix makes it less corrosive and lowers the melting temperature (from 2800 degrees F. to 2600 degrees F.), prolonging furnace life.
  • No processing by-products — Glass recycling is a closed-loop system, creating no additional waste or by-products.

Safe and Light-Weight

Today’s glass containers are more than 40% lighter than they were 20 years ago. And light weighting efforts continue throughout the industry.

Glass packaging can handle vacuum or high-pressure sealing, safeguarding against moisture and oxygen invasions. This protects food and beverages from spoilage and bacteria.

Glass containers are impermeable, air-tight, and transparent. You can see the freshness of food and beverages.

Nontoxic and FDA Approved

Made from nontoxic raw materials—silica, sand, soda ash, limestone and up to 70% recycled glass—glass is the only packaging material certified by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration as “generally regarded as safe.”

Glass is nonporous and impermeable, so there are no interactions between glass packaging and products to affect the flavor of food and beverages. No nasty after taste—ever.

Glass has an almost zero rate of chemical interaction, ensuring that the products inside a glass bottle keep their strength, aroma, and flavor.

Glass can be specified to absorb damaging ultraviolet light, ensuring product purity and taste. In fact, glass has an inherently longer shelf life than any packaging material.

Glass does not deteriorate, corrode, stain or fade, so products inside a glass container remain as fresh as when they were bottled.

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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 ».

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