O-I Improving Glass Recycling
Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality. In fact, about 80% of the glass that is recycled is used to make new glass bottles and jars —in as little as 30 days. As a leading glass producer, O-I is also a leading glass recycler. By recycling glass to make new glass packaging, we advance the circular economy and create demand for recycled bottles each day.
VISION: THE MOST SUSTAINABLE PRODUCER OF THE MOST SUSTAINABLE RIGID PACKAGING
Leading the Way: Improving Glass Recycling
At O-I, we see tremendous opportunity to positively impact the planet and communities where we operate. O-I is proactively collaborating with customers, associations, suppliers and local leaders to make glass recycling available in 100% of the communities where we operate.
O-I has several targeted initiatives aimed at growing and improving glass recycling—from providing community grants, to purchasing infrastructure and promoting best practices to improve environmental and economic impacts.
Glass Recycling Supports the Local Economy
While many recyclables rely on export markets, the end market for recycled glass is primarily local. Most glass customers and suppliers are within 300 miles of production plants. Glass captured from curbside recycling in one community is often processed and delivered to glass manufacturers in the same area to create new glass packaging to serve the community.
Recycling glass helps glass container and fiberglass manufacturing plants remain competitive and protects jobs. In fact, recycling 1,000 tons of glass supports eight jobs in the economy.
And, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries the glass recycling industry total economic impact in the United States is $634 million.
In the last three years, O-I invested approximately $6 million (USD) in glass recycling processing facilities around the world. We also align with other glass recycling processors through multi-year supply contracts ensuring there is an end market for curbside glass recycling.
Increasing Recycled Content
O-I is proud of the role we play in creating a better planet through our products and our processes. We are committed to reducing the natural resources we use and the waste we generate. O-I is taking a tailored approach to increase recycled content across our global network as rates vary significantly by geography. Currently about a third of O-I’s furnaces are using at least 50% recycled content. We have set an ambitious goal of increasing recycled content to a system wide 50% average by 2030.
Increasing recycled content in the manufacturing process grows demand for end-of-life bottles, improves the environmental footprint and reduces the energy needed to melt the raw materials. In fact, every 10% of recycled glass used in production leads to a five percent reduction in carbon emissions and a three percent reduction in energy use.
Glass Packaging Drives Circularity
Glass is an ideal package for the circular economy. More than 80% of the bottles that are recycled are used to make new bottles with recycled content. Glass is infinitely recyclable without loss of quality, making it a permanent material that can continue offset the need for raw materials as often as it is recycled.
Through improving recycling and increasing recycled content, O-I continues to design out waste from glass production and reducing pollution to keep recyclable glass in use as recycled content. Every ton of glass recycled saves 1,400 pounds of sand, 430 pounds of soda ash and 400 pounds of limestone/dolomite for future generations. Improving recycling is vital to the circularity of glass to further offset the demand for natural resources and leveraging the infinite recyclability of glass.
How to Recycle Glass Bottles and Jars
Making glass bottles is high-tech. Recycling them is super simple. For most consumers, recycling a glass bottle is as simple as placing it in the recycling bin at home or the local drop off. No sorting. No separating. No worries if they’re broken. Once collected, glass is taken to a local material recovery facility. At this facility, glass is crushed and quickly separated from other recyclables.
The separated glass is then cleaned and automatically separated by optical technology, as is done at the O-I PROMAPI facility in Mexico or Glass to Glass in Oregon. Once cleaned and separated, the glass is ready to offset the need for raw materials to make new, sustainable bottles that can be recycled again at the end of their use.
Refillable Glass Bottles: Many Happy Returns
As consumers and customers become more aware of their environmental footprint, there has been a growth in demand for refillable bottles. Refillable glass bottles (RGB) offer the most sustainable and economical rigid packaging option.
In as few as five turns, RGB offer the lowest environmental impact of any rigid packaging. Throughout its lifetime, returnable, refillable glass bottles can offer CO2 emission saving up to 66 times less, per container, than aluminum. For customers, cost per filling is reduced over the life cycle of the bottle, offering significant cost savings.
#ChooseGlass: The Sustainable Choice is Clear
There is nothing quite like glass. It’s made of natural, readily available raw materials. It’s infinitely recyclable. It has endured the test of time for millennia. Glass is a trusted and proven packaging for health, taste and the environment.
O-I and glass go hand-in-hand. We are the industry leaders in sustainability and the only global company exclusively committed to the commercialization of glass containers. Glass containers are the only food contact material that is “Generally Recognized as Safe” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s also the most neutral and natural of packaging materials. What you put in is what you get out. Nothing more. When you eat or drink something packaged in glass, you’re experiencing the pure taste of that food or drink.
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