Resource Recycling News

The latest news on glass recycling

Grants, a government report and industry funding are all making an impact on the world of glass recycling. | Sinart Creative/Shutterstock

Private dollars have been flowing to glass recovery efforts, and California manufacturers consumed a little less cullet last year. Those were a couple of recent glass announcements.

Grants impact

The Glass Recycling Foundation (GRF) opened applications for the next round of glass recycling grants and reported on the impact of the prior round. 

In its 2022 Impact Report, the foundation noted that it awarded nearly $200,000 that diverted roughly 600 tons of glass from landfills. The awards fund resident education, collection containers, glass cleaning equipment, pilot projects and other efforts, according to a press release.

The release highlighted a couple of recently funded projects, including a $5,000 grant to the city of Fairfax, Va. to design and buy 3,000 reusable tote bags, which will be distributed to residents to bring their glass containers to drop-off locations. Another was a $5,000 grant to Justice Industries, a nonprofit based in Brentwood, Tenn. that provides jobs for people who have barriers to employment. That money was used to buy 35 green 96-gallon carts to expand commercial glass collection in the Nashville area. 

Additionally, the GRF announced it has opened applications for the next round of grants. Nonprofits, municipal governments and waste management districts, glass collectors, MRFs, glass beneficiators, and manufacturers can all apply. The application deadline is July 7, 2023. 

California cullet use

California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) data shows a slight dip in the average recycled content of bottles and fiberglass insulation in the state.

According to a May 10 report, bottles made in the state averaged 43.43% in 2022, and fiberglass insulation either made or sold in the state averaged 44.28% in 2022. 

The bottle figure was down from 44.24% in 2021, but it was up from 42.57% in 2020. The fiberglass insulation figure was down from 46.65% in 2021 and 47.96% in 2020. 

California mandates that bottles contain at least 35% recycled content and fiberglass insulation be made with at least 30% recycled content.

In total, manufacturers consumed over 606,000 tons of cullet, CalRecycle noted.

Hub-and-spoke network funding

A glass recovery effort in Washington state has received a financial shot in the arm. 

The NextCycle Washington program, a business incubator program modeled off those in Michigan and Colorado, has awarded dozens of fledgling efforts with grants of up to $10,000 each. 

One of those went to the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), which will use funds to help develop a hub-and-spoke system to aggregate and transport bottles from central and eastern Washington to recycling markets in western Washington and Portland, Ore., according to a press release

A local NBC affiliate news station reported one of the spokes is in the city of Walla Walla, Wash., a center of wine production. GPI is working with a local organization called BIG Recyclers to establish that collection point. 

O-I has a production facility in Portland and Ardagh Glass has one in Seattle. 

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