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Glass Packaging Institute releases 10-year goal

GPI’s A Circular Future for Glass initiative aims to raise the U.S. glass recycling rate to 50 percent.

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The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), Arlington, Virginia, has announced that its new initiative, A Circular Future for Glass, provides a 10-year plan to raise the U.S. glass recycling rate to 50 percent and boost the average use of recycled content in domestically made glass containers.

According to a news release from GPI, the institute has partnered with the Boston Consulting Group for the study, design study solution sets in different regions and develop a set of options for achieving the 10-year goal. A Circular Future for Glass has three pillars:

  • leave no bottle behind – this involves new or expanded bottle bill laws, clean collection options and expanded commercial recycling programs;
  • transform the recycling system – this will involve investments and improvements in collection, separating and processing of glass; and
  • drive collective action – this involves creating user-friendly deposit-return programs run by the private sector and other cooperative approaches.

“We are energized by this new national initiative and thankful for the opportunity to work with BCG on this project,” says GPI President Scott DeFife. “Increasing the U.S. glass recycling rate to 50 percent improves the supply of raw material for glass container manufacturing and would result in lower greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and improve upon the already recognized sustainability performance of glass. It is an ambitious but achievable goal that can be accomplished with collaboration and cooperation within the glass manufacturing supply chain and with help from all levels of government. We are excited to begin this journey with the help of BCG, GPI member companies and other stakeholders in the industry.”

Elfrun Von Koeller, managing director and partner of BCG, adds, “Glass is an infinitely recyclable material, but unfortunately in the U.S. it mostly ends up in landfills. We partnered with GPI to design workable solutions to reach an ambitious 50 percent glass recycling goal. Setting the goal is not enough. We must all continue to work collectively to help transform the recycling system end to end.”

GPI reports that next steps on this new initiative include working to develop pilot projects. The institute is also focused on expanding its membership with a network of participants in the glass recycling sector that will work to achieve its goals.