Owens-Illinois and eCullet are going "Glass to Glass"

Owens-Illinois and eCullet are going "Glass to Glass"

By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling

Owens-Illinois and eCullet are launching a new joint venture called Glass to Glass that will build new cullet sortation facilities in the U.S. As part of the venture, eCullet, a glass processing company, will supply O-I, a glass container manufacturer, with a new source of recycled material.

According to O-I spokesperson Beth Peery, the companies are currently looking at establishing the first facility as part of the venture in the Portland, Oregon area.

Peery says that O-I was attracted to Portland because the company already has a glass manufacturing facility in the city and because the state's container deposit program already provides the firm with a steady stream of recyclable glass.

"The majority of the recycled glass O-I uses is from the 10 bottle bill states," she says.

According to Peery, eCullet has been a long-time supplier to O-I. The new joint venture, says Peery, is expected to provide O-I with more high-quality recycled glass from eCullet's proprietary sortation technology. Peery says that the joint venture will also supply O-I with glass collected through single-stream curbside recycling. She says that eCullet has the technology that will effectively sort and clean this material so that it can be used to make new glass bottles and jars.

"The benefit of the eCullet system is that they have color sorting technology that allows us to use some curbside glass," she says. "And that's a big benefit, because were not able to use that glass today."

Meg Lynch, recycling and waste prevention manager for the regional Metro government and a former editor at this publication, says that currently much of the glass recovered through curbside collection in the area is used as cover in landfills or to make fiberglass. Recycling the glass into new products would be a better use of the material, she says.

"We want materials to go into new bottles," she says. "For us, that's the highest and best use. Local, of course, is better."

Bruce Walker, solid waste and recycling manager at the City of Portland, says that much of the glass recovered in the city is shipped to California. He expects that, if a local glass recycling facility was built, it would likely make sense economically for haulers to send the material there.

Peery says that there are no other facilities planned under the joint venture at this time.

"One at a time, and we'll just see how this goes and make further decisions from there," she says.

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