In the US a group of nearly two dozen organisations including the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), and beverage manufacturers such as Diageo and New Belgium Brewing, as well as glass the processing and recycling industry, have joined forces to create the U.S. Glass Recycling Coalition.
The GPI explained that the coalition’s primary goal is to help build a foundation to make glass recycling a successful industry, and a convenient, high quality and efficient service for consumers.
The coalition involves collaboration across the entire glass supply chain including consumer brands, glass manufacturers, waste haulers, recycling processors, and trade organisations involved within many of these industries, will work toward this common goal. From the waste industry the National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) and Republic Services are among the members.
The organisation noted that while glass containers for food and beverages are 100% recyclable, today the US recycling system faces a perfect storm of economic forces that is making it harder to recycle glass.
According to the GPI glass recycling can pose unique challenges on the recycling infrastructure if not planned for and executed correctly. In addition, a few municipalities have decided to remove glass from their kerbside recycling collection programs and send glass to disposal instead.
This trend was said to not only be environmentally harmful, but also serve to disengage and confuse the public on recycling.
“The Glass Packaging Institute is excited to partner with stakeholders along the entire value chain to work together on practical and targeted solutions for returning more recycled glass back to manufacturers for new bottles and jars,” commented Lynn Bragg, president of GPI. “For glass container and fiberglass manufacturers, the demand for recycled glass dramatically exceeds the supply.”
Coalition members intend to work on bringing best practices to the US glass recycling supply chain to increase the availability of cullet - the industry term for furnace-ready recycled glass that can become new bottles and jars, as well as fiberglass.
For companies like Diageo and New Belgium Brewing, glass is not being recycled at a high enough rate to meet the beverage makers’ needs for recycled glass to make new bottles.
“We have significant global ambitions to increase the recycled content in our packaging,” explained Roberta Barbieri, global environmental director, Diageo. “We are keen to see an increase in glass recycling in the U.S., and so we decided to come together with our beverage industry peers and representatives from across the entire glass recycling ecosystem to begin to identify solutions.”
Katie Wallace, New Belgium’s assistant director of sustainability added: “We know the glass recycling industry is facing significant challenges and believe that consumer-facing brands are an important part of a collaborative, nation-wide solution.”
The coalition aims to help create an efficient system for glass recycling, making it a viable option for everyone. Together, the coalition said that it will work to develop strategies to assist municipalities with glass recycling decisions, and establish a network of glass recycling resources and champions.
At its launch the GPI said that the Coalition already has the support of leading industry players. Confirmed members of the coalition include:
- Allagash Brewing Company
- Ardagh Group o Diageo (co-founder)
- Gallo Glass Company
- Glass Packaging Institute (co-founder)
- Goose Island Beer Company
- Heineken USA
- NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturing Association, Inc.)
- New Belgium Brewing (co-founder)
- National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA)
- O-I o Pratt Industries
- The Recycling Partnership
- Resource Recycling Systems (facilitator)
- Republic Services
- Ripple Glass Mak
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