In the US, almost everyone assumes that glass is 100% recycled. Yet, two-thirds of bottles go to landfills and only one gets recycled.
That's a fact.
Since the beginning of single-stream waste collection in the US, glass has been the biggest safety hazard for waste operators. Broken glass is dangerous and devalues other recycled commodities. Due to contamination, US municipalities are removing glass from curbside recycling and sending it to the landfill. We need to save the glass!
Negative costs are hindering glass recycling. Across the US, it's about $35 to recycle each metric ton. It is more cost-effective to send glass waste to the landfill than to recycle it. This is not a sustainable solution for the environment.
What can we do?
The recycling system needs funding. There are a lot of questions about how to handle the costs involved. Where will the funds come from? Who will pay? How is payment collected? When in the process are fees assessed?
In Europe and Canada, there is an established system known as Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR. Every producer has to pay to recycle a certain percentage of their product’s packaging.
In reality, the producer usually never pays more than the smallest amount of an imposed percentage. While it appears that the producer has taken responsibility for their packaging waste, when the costs add up, the end-user pays the bill.
The EPR system works but it’s not transparent. We can improve on the EPR model with an equal distribution of costs. In our system, the producer, retailer and consumer all pay. Our system has accountability and trust.
A funding system has to be reliable, transparent, trusted, fair, accessible and efficient.
We are building a solution - the End of Waste Foundation Platform. It facilitates private, voluntary contributions from citizens and companies. It incentivizes the glass recycling process and makes it workable.
Let's stop dumping recycled glass in landfills - Save the Glass!