GPI Celebrates 2021 Glass Recycling Efforts on America Recycles Day!

Glass News ,

On November 15 - America Recycles Day - the glass container industry has many milestones to celebrate. In 2021, Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) member companies took our glass recycling commitment to a new level, unveiling a new 10-year plan to raise the domestic glass recycling rate to over 50%, pledging our support, time and investment in an array of programs and strategies to close gaps in the glass recycling supply chain.

In April 2021 GPI partnered with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and released a new recycling roadmap for the U.S.. A Circular Future For Glass sets bold, attainable targets to increase the U.S. glass recycling rate to 50 percent, through higher levels of recycled content in glass bottles and jars.

We started implementing those efforts with the rollout of an enhanced Don’t Trash Glass (DTG) program in Phoenix, Arizona. The DTG program is centered on separated glass recycling in commercial collection, supported by participating bars, restaurants and other businesses. The next DTG program was launched in Chicago earlier this year. These efforts are one example of how GPI intends to keep America on track with sustainable recycling efforts that recognizes the circularity of glass recycling. In Arizona, GPI and our partners are working with leaders in Tucson, Arizona to extend the DTG program there and to other local communities. 

The DTG pilot program that operated in Chicago this summer was a collaboration with the Glass Recycling Foundation (GRF) and Corona's Protect Our Beaches program. Participating bars and restaurants had the opportunity to recycle their glass bottles, with the support and partnership of Lakeshore Recycling System (LRS), Strategic Materials, Inc. (SMI) and O-I Glass. 

The pilot successfully diverted over 30 tons of container glass, bottles and jars that otherwise would have been disposed of in nearby landfills - a tremendous success for local glass recycling efforts! It clearly demonstrated the desire of local businesses to recycle their glass containers when provided the opportunity.

We took several other steps to increase glass collection and implement programs that were discussed in the roadmap pillars, which include:

Leave No Bottle Behind: Ensure consumers have a way to recycle every glass bottle at a cost lower than waste disposal. 

Recycling System Transformation: Develop infrastructure that is capable of sorting, processing and transporting recycled glass to manufacturing plants. 

Drive Collective Action: Identify collaborative opportunities between private and public sectors to forge a nationwide commitment to solve the recycling challenge.

Together, these pillars will assist communities and industry reach a 50% recycling rate for glass. 

From working with states to implement new ways to finance and partner on glass cleanup equipment for material recovery facilities (MRFs), to modelling new hub and spoke glass aggregation facilities to improve transportation economic to the expansion of cleaner streams of glass collection through separate curbside glass programs, GPI and its members have started to implement the recommendations in the glass recycling study this year. In addition, the industry is working constructively on a set of policies related to best practices for the expansion of beverage container deposit programs and glass recovery in extended producer responsibility (ERP) debates, and have supported the expansion of refillable glass recovery and cleaning facilities for refill programs.

GPI is excited for these, and future opportunities to recycle more glass bottles and jars.  Our key initiative for 2022 will focus on keeping glass out of landfills.  We invite you to join us on America Recycles Day, and every day, to recycle more of your glass.