More than 2 million pounds of glass were diverted from Colorado landfills in July and August thanks to a partnership between Costa Mesa, California-based End of Waste Foundation (EOW), Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Bottle Co. and Salt Lake City-based Momentum Recycling. The collaboration that began in June effectively creates a sustainable and circular economy in the glass industry in order to tackle a recurring issue in Colorado, EOW announces in a news release.
Colorado’s recycling rate is nearly half of the national average and 4.2 percent of landfill waste is composed of glass, EOW says. In addition, Colorado is one of 40 states without bottle deposit laws and glass often represents a net loss for many material recovery facilities (MRFs). The value of clean recyclable glass is about $35 per ton, while it costs about the same to haul, sort and clean the material for processing.
Rocky Mountain Bottle Co. began using EOW’s blockchain waste traceability software (BWTS) in May. The company makes glass bottles for MillerCoors out of Momentum’s recycled glass.
The software allows MRFs, waste management companies and glass manufacturers to trace glass from curbside bins to new products. EOW then uses the data to create a glass certificate with the amount recycled, chain of activity and carbon offsets, which consumers and businesses can purchase. The funds are distributed back to MRFs and glass processors to cover negative costs and investments in glass recycling equipment and workforce.
The software creates a pathway towards efficiency and transparency within the recycling industry in order to offset costs and incentivize glass recycling, EOW says.
Within two months, the EOW platform tracked and recycled 1,348 tons of glass.
The overall goal is increasing average recycling in the U.S. from 33 percent to 85 percent by 2030. Reaching this goal amounts to saving 4.6 million tons of glass from landfills and 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions per year. The process has already begun in Colorado, Utah and Missouri with Kansas City-based Ripple Glass.
“In 1960 the recycling rate hovered at six percent and in 2019 the national average is at 33 percent. If we continue at this trajectory, it would take us more than 100 years to achieve our goal of an 85 percent recycling rate,” says Ionut Georgescu, founder and chief executive officer of EOW. “We believe our independent and self-regulated system helps fulfill the goals and needs of all stakeholders involved, including consumers. Our partnership with Rocky Mountain Bottling Co. and Momentum Recycling puts us on a sustainable path to a healthier planet.”