- Last month, representatives from local government, hauling companies, material recovery facilities (MRF) and the manufacturing sector came together for the Georgia Glass Recycling Summit, as reported by Resource Recycling.
- The event was hosted by the Georgia Recycling Coalition (GRC), the Glass Packaging Institute and the newly formed Glass Recycling Coalition. The goal was to discuss the perception that the material has no value and bring together different industries to find new opportunities for recycling it.
- Because Georgia has two glass container manufacturing plants, two secondary glass processing facilities and at least three fiberglass manufacturing facilities the market for feedstock is still strong in the region.
Despite this support, glass recycling has experienced challenges in Georgia recently like many other states. The GRC didn't have full data available, but multiple municipalities in the state have stopped collecting the material and others have considered it. Earlier this year it was revealed that Savannah's glass had been going to a landfill for months without the city's knowledge.
Though a recent study commissioned by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition found that 81% of the U.S. population has access to glass beverage bottle recycling and many municipalities have found ways to make it work. Decatur, GA raised its annual sanitation fee by 10% to cover the costs of separate glass collection, residents in one Utah county now have access to an opt-in program and Houston has added drop-off points. Many other cities also still accept the material outright through standard single- or dual-stream programs.
As a result of the Georgia summit, local industry stakeholders agreed to contact elected officials and help educate them about the manufacturing demands for this material. A workshop to discuss regional business plans and financing for new separation equipment at MRFs is also planned. If successful, this type of collaborative model could prove useful in other states throughout the country.