The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), a Virginia-based trade association which represents the North American glass container industry, has announced it will provide $40,000 in funding to two North Carolina material recovery facilities (MRFs) to assist in their ongoing glass recycling and recovery efforts.
American Recycling of Western North Carolina (WNC), Chandler, North Carolina, and Sonoco Recycling LLC, headquartered in Hartsville, South Carolina, also secured grants from the North Carolina Department of the Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) totaling $80,000. Sonoco’s Raleigh, North Carolina, MRF will use the funds to improve its current glass recycling operations.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the glass container and recycling industry to demonstrate how strategic investments can help deliver higher quality recycled glass for manufacturing into new containers,” says Scott Mouw, recycling and materials management section chief for NC DEQ. “It is important for the glass industry to help us improve North Carolina’s recycling facilities, so we can continue convenient curbside glass recycling in the most cost-effective way.”
As part of the grant agreement with NC DEQ, both American Recycling and Sonoco Recycling also will make investments in upgrading their facilities. The combined funding will allow the companies to implement best management practices for improving glass recycling, according to GPI. As collection of mixed recycling has grown, recycling plants face increasing challenges sorting glass from other recyclable materials. Currently, most recycling processors recover glass at the end of the sorting process, after all other recyclable materials have been captured. That process can result in broken glass that is heavily contaminated with unwanted material. In the current six-year low market for all commodities, GPI says it is even more important for recycling facilities to improve cleaning processes so they can get the most value for supplying glass for new containers and other products.
To address these processing challenges, American Recycling says it plans to install a more efficient glass breaker and a glass cleaning line, and supplement these with improved storage facilities for the recycled glass collected from two nearby brewery partners, New Belgium Brewing and Sierra Nevada.
“American Recycling appreciates the additional funds provided by GPI. They will help to ensure that we can secure the best equipment available to clean our 3-mix glass stream,” says Ron Moore, president and owner of American Recycling.
Sonoco Recycling will move its existing glass breaker screen to an earlier part of the sorting process—a best practice—to get glass off the main line sooner. This will decrease wear and tear on equipment, improve the quality of recycled materials, as well as the company’s final glass product.
Mike Pope, general manager and president of Sonoco Recycling, adds, “The costs associated with recovering glass from a single-stream recycling program are significant so we certainly appreciate GPI’s support and funding.”
The glass industry says it made these grants to support the state of North Carolina and its leading recycling grant program, which focuses on demonstrable improvements to the industry. GPI says it is committed to help strengthen recycling systems around the country to provide for a higher quality of recycled glass that can be used in the manufacturing of new glass bottles and fiberglass.
Lessons learned in North Carolina will be shared with other stakeholders and government officials for establishing future best practices. The state is home to three glass container manufacturing plants, as well as major glass processing facilities that further sort and clean the recycled glass received from the MRFs.
“This strategic investment by GPI will assist in securing quality recycled glass for the industry and improve energy savings at glass manufacturing facilities,” says John Riordan, president and CEO, Ardagh Group, Glass, North America and GPI board of trustees chairman.