O-I employees collect 4 tons of glass for Recycle Glass WeekWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Owens-Illinois employees collected 4 tons of glass for recycling as part of North American Recycle Glass Week from Sept. 12-18 sponsored by the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI).
O-I employees exceeded the company’s goal of collecting 3 tons of glass for recycling through its employee collection drive at the Levis Commons campus where 750 employees work. Nationwide, 20 tons were collected for the 2009 event.
“We wanted to focus on raising awareness about the importance of recycling glass since many people may not realize that glass can be recycled over and over, saving tons of raw materials,” said Kristie Martin, a communications specialist at O-I who chaired the company-wide recycling effort.
“For every kilogram of cullet (recycled glass) that we use in manufacturing, we’re able to replace 1.2 kilograms of raw materials,” she said.
O-I hosted collection events and collected glass for recycling at its headquarters in Perrysburg and its manufacturing plants across in the U.S. The company built glass recycling stations for employees to deposit glass bottles and containers during the campaign.
All of the recycled glass was sent to cullet processors that provide recycled cullet to O-I for its glass manufacturing process to make more bottles and containers, Martin said.
Glass is 100 percent recyclable and is made into new glass containers over and over. One of the most significant issues affecting the glass industry today is the lack of quality recycled glass, according to O-I.
Although 17 million tons of glass enters the waste stream annually, only about 2.5 million tons is recycled by glass makers to produce more containers. By increasing the amount of recycled glass available by 10 percent, the environmental impact would reduce the energy required for glass production by 3 percent and carbon emissions by 5 percent, according to the company.
By hosting the collection drive and educating people about glass recycling, O-I is helping the glass industry meet its goal of using at least 50 percent recycled glass when producing new glass containers by 2013, Martin said.
If that goal is reached, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the domestic energy savings would be enough to power nearly 22,000 households for an entire year and keep 181,550 tons of waste from reaching landfills.
Doubling the U.S. glass container recycling rate of 28 percent in 2008 would allow manufacturers to use 50 percent cullet or recycled glass to make new glass containers, according to the GPI. O-I was among 50 glass container manufacturing locations across the country holding events during Recycle Glass Week.