Chapter 7. Glass Container Reuse: Refillables Hold Opportunity for Glass Industry

  1. John B. Wachtman Jr
  1. Michael Lewis

Published Online: 26 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470314814.ch7

A Collection of Papers Presented at the 56th Conference on Glass Problems: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 17, Issue 2

A Collection of Papers Presented at the 56th Conference on Glass Problems: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 17, Issue 2

How to Cite

Lewis, M. (1996) Glass Container Reuse: Refillables Hold Opportunity for Glass Industry, in A Collection of Papers Presented at the 56th Conference on Glass Problems: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 17, Issue 2 (ed J. B. Wachtman), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470314814.ch7

Author Information

  1. Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Washington, DC

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1996

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470375419

Online ISBN: 9780470314814

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Keywords:

  • glass industry;
  • household waste;
  • refillable bottles;
  • beverage container;
  • glass recycling

Summary

Recycling is firmly planted in the minds of both consumers and manufacturers and now is part of the mainstream economy. The glass packaging industry was one of the first and most vocal supporters of recycling, which resulted in the early development of a national glass recycling infrastructure and a current recycling rate of about 30%. But other types of packaging have made major gains in recycling (e.g., steel 46.3%, aluminum 53%, and PET soft drink bottles 41.1%), further eroding glass's market share. In many collection programs, glass is being de-emphasized or excluded completely. This is due to two issues: (1) glass breaks and contaminates other materials (some processors reject more than 40% of collected glass due to premature breakage), and (2) glass is not as valuable for haulers and processors as other materials (e.g., glass is worth ≈30/ton whereas plastics can fetch ≈600/ton). There is a growing realization that a return to refillable bottles may be part of the solution to the problem of decreasing market share for glass containers. The unique properties of glass make it an ideal candidate for reuse. Indeed, technically and economically feasible refillable bottles, systems, and policies already exist throughout North America and Europe.