New U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data shows the glass recycling rate jumped to 28.1 per cent in 2007, up three percentage points from 2006 (25.3 per cent).
An estimated 3.2 million tons were recovered compared to 2.9 million in 2006. This is the first significant increase since about 2000.
For glass beer and soft drink bottles, the rate was 34.5 per cent, a big boost from 30.7 per cent in 2006, and 15 per cent for wine and liquor bottles (same as 2006). The amount of glass generated remains at 5.3 per cent.
“We suspect this increase reflects higher glass bottle recycling rates in California and other states with container deposit programs,” says Joe Cattaneo, Glass Packaging Institute president. There are currently 11 states with some type of consumer deposit legislation in place.
For the six-month period ending June 2008, the California Department of Conservation reports that the glass bottle recycling rate rose to 79 per cent, up from 71 per cent for the same period in 2007. The overall beverage container recycling rate in California reached 76 per cent (7.5 billion containers).
Says Cattaneo: “Glass is 100 per cent recyclable and our members use all the recovered glass they can get to make new glass containers. Recycling plays an integral part in the cradle-to-cradle process of glass packaging manufacturing.”
To download the complete report, “U.S. EPA Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2007,” go to www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/msw99.htm.
For California recycling rates, go to www.conservation.ca.gov/dor/Notices/Documents/Biannual.pdf.