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Glass end user O-I reports lower Q1 demand

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Recycled glass buyer O-I reported selling fewer tons of glass containers so far this year. | Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Major recycled glass buyer O-I reported selling 12.5% fewer tons of glass containers during the first three months of 2024 compared with the prior-year period, driven by a decline in alcoholic beverage sales.

O-I on April 30 reported $1.59 billion in sales during the first three months of the year, down from $1.83 billion during the first quarter last year. In the global company’s Americas division, sales decreased from $1 billion in last year’s first quarter to $854 million this year.

Company filings show O-I’s “non-alcoholic beverages” and “food and other” product sales in the Americas were essentially flat year over year. But the company’s alcoholic beverage container sales in the Americas decreased 23% from $609 million in 2023’s first quarter to $468 million this year. The European market, a smaller portion of O-I’s business by sales, saw similar trends.

The results contributed to O-I lowering its projection for demand recovery throughout this year, but the company still anticipates sales volume in tons will be flat or up slightly for the full year. And O-I remains optimistic about demand for the foreseeable future.

“As markets improve, we anticipate long-term glass demand will continue to benefit from key megatrends, such as premiumization, health and wellness, as well as increased interest in sustainability,” CEO Andres Lopez said during a May 1 earnings call. “Overall, we expect glass demand will substantially recover to pre-pandemic levels over time.”

In 2022, O-I used an average of 38% recycled glass across its global packaging portfolio, according to its latest sustainability report. The company reported it uses about 5 million tons of recycled glass per year. 

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