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Friday, June 24, 2011

Glass Recycling Kiln Ignited

Whew - in the knick of time Owens-Illinois (O-I), the world's largest glass manufacturer, comes to the rescue.  With an aggressive goal of using 60% post-consumer cullet (i.e. broken glass returned for recycling) in their manufacturing by 2017, O-I contacted the Zero Waste Zones to explore a partnership for development of glass recycling systems that make good business sense.

O-I provides the main missing link in ZWZ's prior glass recycling research:  economics.  Other necessary parameters are in-place for the Atlanta market:  1> Glass processing facility -  Strategic Materials, who prepares collected glass for manufacturing, has an Atlanta facility  2> End Markets - O-I has a metro Atlanta manufacturing plant and 3>ZWZ Participants - bar|restaurants operators, the largest producers of used glass, ready, willing and eager to separate glass for recycling collection.  

Without the economics in place, it seemed impossible to create a glass recycling program based on sound business principles.  In fact, ZWZ Director Holly Elmore announced the ZWZ were ready to pursue end-use options in lieu of recycling.  See the ZWZ Blog post, Recycling Integrity @ IFSS, for the session where the announcement was made and a link for the PPT presentation with several slides detailing the glass dilemma.

The day following the end-use announcement O-I contacted Holly after finding the 05-10  ZWZ  Blog post, Single-Sream Recycling Controversy, where a ZWZ glass recycling commitment was declared.  What timing!

The National Restaurant Association and the Glass Packaging Institution immediately joined the glass recycling team.  In the fact-finding phase, the team has embarked on action items to develop an Atlanta pilot, serving as the foundation for a national template.

With the glass recycling kiln ignited by O-I,  stay tuned for more tales from the trail to successful programs.  These are thrilling times!

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