Glass is the trusted and proven packaging for health, taste and the environment. It is also the only widely-used food packaging granted the FDA status of “GRAS” or generally recognized as safe – the highest standard.
HOW LARGE IS THE U.S. GLASS CONTAINER MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY?
Glass container companies represent a $5.5 billion dollar industry, and employ about 18,000 skilled workers in 49 glass manufacturing plants in 22 states. There are over 80 recycled glass processors in 35 states. On average, a typical glass processing facility can handle 20 tons of color-sorted glass per hour.
WHAT TYPES OF GLASS CAN BE RECYCLED? WHAT ARE THE INDUSTRY STANDARDS FOR CULLET?
Glass containers, such as those for food and beverages, can be recycled. Other types of glass, like windows, ovenware, Pyrex, crystal, etc. are manufactured through a different process. If these materials are introduced into the manufacturing process, they can cause production problems and defective containers. Furnace-ready cullet must also be free of contaminants such as metals, ceramics, gravel, stones, etc. Color sorting makes a difference, too. Glass manufacturers are limited in the amount of mixed cullet they can use to manufacture new containers. Separating recycled container glass by color allows the industry to ensure that new bottles match the color standards required by glass container customers.
WHAT RECYCLING APPROACHES DOES THE INDUSTRY FAVOR? HOW DO THEY WORK?
Ideally, any recycling program that results in color separated, contaminant-free recycled glass helps ensure that these materials are recycled into new glass containers. While curbside collection of glass recyclables can generate high participation and large amounts of recyclables, drop-off and commercial collection programs often yield higher-quality container glass.
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