Best Practices for Recycling Glass Containers
The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) announces the results of an in-depth survey of 10 bar, restaurant, and hotel glass container recycling programs in eight states. In addition to collecting data on containers and processes, economic details, and logistics, the survey also identifies eight best practices that have come out of these trail-blazing programs.
To start with, partnerships are key. Working in tandem, the food service businesses, hauler/recycler, and glass processor can more effectively ensure the recycled glass gets to a glass container manufacturer. And cities and counties that initiate programs are adept at helping to create these connections and bring all the parties together.
“The glass container industry has always known that bars, restaurant, and hotels are a source for high-quality recycled glass,” says Lynn Bragg, GPI president. “And this survey provides some details and best practices that we hope will encourage more communities to assist local foodservice and hospitality businesses recycle their glass bottles.”
Most programs were established to handle a high volume of glass containers generated at bars, restaurants, and hotels, as well as respond to the environmental impact of including glass with the trash rather than recycling it.
“We welcome local partnerships in communities, especially those near glass container manufacturing plants, to help build a stronger system for recycling more glass bottles,” Bragg says.
According to the survey, the average amount of glass collected through a bar, restaurant, or hotel recycling program is about 150 tons/month, with an average of 100 participating businesses in each surveyed program. Overall, implementing glass recycling resulted in a cost neutral scenario for businesses or a small reduction/increase in costs.
Half of those surveyed collect glass separately and half single stream (all recyclables placed in one bin or commingled containers). Two programs collect glass both separated for larger generators and single stream for smaller businesses. Most collect recycled glass bottles once/week, and on average, weekly collection costs are about $40 - $50 for each business, although prices vary based on size and number of containers as well as frequency of pickup.
The survey was conducted by GPI during July and August of 2011. For more survey findings and best practices, download an Executive Summary at www.gpi.org.