Resource Recycling News

Federal funding boosts recycling operations

Aluminum can bale close up.

An aluminum sheet producer that uses recycled beverage cans is among the recipients of a recent round of federal funding. | Pim Pic/Shutterstock

Multiple glass recycling operations, a massive chemical recycling facility and a project to increase consumption of mixed grade recycled aluminum are among the materials recovery efforts to receive recent funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The federal agency on March 25 announced a handful of projects across industrial sectors were selected to receive a total of $6 billion. The money comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, which Congress approved in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Aimed broadly at decarbonizing “energy-intensive industries” and bolstering U.S. manufacturing, the funding recipients include several processors of recyclables.


Gallo Glass, a Modesto, California-based container manufacturer that’s a subsidiary of major California winemaker E & J Gallo Winery, will receive up to $75 million to install a hybrid electric glass furnace.

Besides reducing energy use, the hybrid furnace will allow the company to increase recycled content in its glass bottles by 30%, according to the announcement. The project also involves establishing new recycled glass collection programs to bring in containers that are part of the California deposit system.

Also in the glass space, O-I was awarded up to $125 million in federal funds to rebuild four glass furnaces at the company’s bottling plants in California, Ohio and Virginia.

O-I is a major consumer of recovered glass from MRFs and from container deposit programs, averaging 38% recycled glass in its feedstock in 2022, according to the company’s latest sustainability report.

In a statement, the company said the rebuilds will “combine five cutting-edge furnace technologies on each furnace, marking the first time that all five technologies have been implemented simultaneously.” The company added the projects will “demonstrate the functionality of combining multiple technologies across different glass colors and container types.”


Eastman will receive up to $375 million in federal funds for a new chemical recycling plant in Longview, Texas.

The facility, announced last week concurrent with the funding news, will be the second of the company’s U.S. facilities to process recovered PET through methanolysis, a process that uses methanol to break down plastic polymers.

The facility has a planned capacity of 110,000 metric tons per year, similar to its first facility in Kingsport, Tennessee. The facility will target scrap PET materials that are not typically recycled by mechanical processors, primarily opaque PET and thermoforms, much like the Kingsport plant.

The funding announcement focused on the lower carbon intensity of the chemically recycled resin when compared with virgin material, noting that “Eastman’s decarbonized material is commanding a green premium among consumer facing brands.”


Golden Aluminum, a Fort Lupton, Colorado-based aluminum sheet producer that uses recycled content, will upgrade its facility with a $22.3 million grant.

The company uses up to 75% recycled aluminum in its products, depending on the alloy, and some product lines, including its Infinity Alloy Family, use recycled beverage cans, or UBCs.

The funding will outfit the company with Nexcast minimill aluminum casting equipment, allowing Golden Aluminum to produce a wider array of aluminum alloys and grades. The equipment will also allow the company to recycle 15% more mixed-grade aluminum scrap.

The funding announcement noted the project is “highly replicable among other U.S. aluminum producers and can help solidify the U.S. as a world leader in decarbonized secondary aluminum production.”


Wieland, a Germany-headquartered copper giant that owns U.S. e-scrap processor Totall Metal Recycling, will receive up to $270 million in federal funds for a copper project in Kentucky.

Wieland will use the funds for its “advanced copper recycling facility” in development in Shelbyville, Kentucky. First announced in 2021, the facility will recycle “a diverse mix of copper scrap and other metals, turning it into high-purity copper suitable to support multiple applications including electric vehicles and semiconductors,” according to the funding announcement.

Wieland entered the U.S. e-scrap industry with its 2022 purchase of Totall Metal Recycling, a processor with two facilities in Granite City, Illinois. When Wieland bought the e-scrap firm, the company indicated Totall Metal would “perfectly integrate” into Wieland’s operations in part because of its proximity to the Shelbyville facility, suggesting the copper plant will receive metals recovered from e-scrap.

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