GPI Celebrates Glass Recycling On America Recycles Day - November 15
Today is America Recycles Day - an opportunity for the glass container industry to remind communities, businesses and governments about the importance of recycling for the health and sustainability of our country and our planet. In a COVID-19 world, we recognize and extend our most sincere appreciation for all in the frontline recycling, glass container and supply chain workforces, whose continuous efforts throughout the pandemic have ensured the recycling of glass and production of new containers for our food and beverage customers.
At GPI, we work alongside our member companies to ensure glass continues to be accepted as a recyclable material in all counties, cities and states. Glass is an original, 100% and endlessly recyclable material, something few food and beverage packaging options can claim. It is recycled in the vast majority of communities across the United States, in the top five of “core” recyclable materials nationwide.
The glass recycling process is unique because it happens in a closed loop system, creating no additional waste or by-products. Recycled glass is always part of the recipe for glass, and the more that is used, the greater the decrease in energy used to make new glass products. Making a new bottle out of recycled glass is cost-efficient, reduces energy consumption, carbon footprint, and diverts this valuable resource from landfills.
Recycling glass remains popular among consumers and communities -- consumers expect glass to be included in their local recycling program, with studies demonstrating over 90% support for glass recycling. Consumers value the glass recycling process, because they know it is environmentally friendly and sustainable. According to a 2020 EcoFocus Worldwide® Consumer Survey, consumers seek packaging that is recyclable, made from recycled materials, or is reusable in some manner. Glass bottles and jars fit all of these criteria.
Glass recycling is at its best when it produces high quality material. Glass from bottle deposit states account for up to 60% of recycled glass nationwide. If your community is struggling with recycling glass, it could be because of a lack of infrastructure or collection methods. The glass container industry wants more material but getting quality material out of many systems is difficult. Drop-off bins have become increasingly popular across the country when the single-stream system struggles. New innovative programs are emerging in Atlanta, Northern Virginia, and Arizona, creating a circular economy and strengthening bottle-to-bottle end markets for recovered glass. GPI and its members are working to see these programs replicated across regions where appropriate, so glass recycling can work at its fullest potential. GPI, alongside in-state allies will continue our work to protect these programs in coming years.
As we celebrate today, let’s remember to bring our industry enthusiasm for recycling back into our everyday lives, advocating at all levels to keep and sustain glass recycling , improve the recycling infrastructure and further support our food and beverage companies, as they strive to improve their package sustainability.