O-I: glass recycling start-up creates new habits in São Paulo

Recycled glass is a main ingredient to manufacture new glass bottles and jars. The more recycled glass that is used to create more glass, the more sustainable the process

Recitotal, a glass recycling and processing company based in São Paulo, Brazil, isn’t an average recycling collection operation. Led by Managing Director Renata De Moraes Pereira Tambasco, Recitotal employees travel their route by motorized tricycles, collecting glass bottles and jars from bars, restaurants and condominiums.

The project started in 2019. The motorized tricycles are green, representing the international standard for glass recycling. Each has a Glass Collection identification and has a bucket that holds up to 400 kilograms of glass. They travel the same 5 kilommetre route each day, passing by the same bars, restaurants and condominiums. The routes and the green bikes have made Recitotal so recognizable, people are accustomed to seeing them and stop the vehicles to donate glass. The glass they collect returns to O-I’s plant to be created into new glass packaging.

“Each tonne of glass recycled in the manufacturing process saves 2.9 percent in energy consumption,” said Morgana Correa, Legal and Government Relations Manager at O-I and leader of the O-I Sustainability Committee in South America. It also means that more glass remains in the circular economy rather than going to a landfill where it will not be reused.

People in São Paulo and O-I are enthusiastic about Recitotal’s work. Tambusco is tracking notable increases in both glass separation and donation. She also notes an increase in appreciation of the importance of recycling glass, which is essential for the shift needed towards greater recyclability of glass.

“Increasing recycling rates in Brazil is a grandiose goal and contribution,” Tambusco said. “In the case of glass, the challenge is even greater, but we believe that collective awareness of its importance is the first concrete step towards successfully achieving consistent progress.”