The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) released a statement in opposition to provisions related to post-consumer recycled content requirements for glass in the “Recycled Content Bill” (NJ S.2515/A.4676). GPI President Scott DeFife has issued the following statement: “The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) opposes passage of NJ S.2515/A.4676– which was primarily aimed at plastics issues – solely because of the unnecessary inclusion of a flawed provision related to recycled content for glass sold in New Jersey (see Section 5). GPI’s opposition is based on what was not included in the bill, which omits any provision to effectively improve glass recycling in the state of New Jersey.
“The New Jersey bill took language from long-standing California law regarding glass containers made in California and incorporated it into a provision regarding glass sold in New Jersey. As we previously testified to the New Jersey legislature, the California requirement used in the bill is tied to the existence of the California Beverage Container Redemption program (CRV or “bottle bill”), and was designed to ensure that glass collected through the CRV program is used by glass manufacturers in California. There is no recycled content requirement for glass merely “sold” in California. There is also no bottle bill in New Jersey, or substantial supply of good clean quality glass in or from New Jersey, elements required to achieve consistent recycled content levels for manufacturing. Instead, the bill sets up a costly bureaucratic program that will collect recycled content data from international food and beverage manufacturers who sell products into the state of New Jersey that are packaged in glass. A more critical piece of data would be for the MRFs and haulers to disclose where they send their glass and how much of their recycled glass is going to landfill.
“Glass recycling has highly regionalized markets, and while bottle bill glass from neighboring states can travel longer distances to processing plants, simply requiring glass sold in New Jersey to have certain recycled content levels will not improve glass recycling in the state, nor will it increase available amounts of recycled glass in New Jersey. Bottles made on the West Coast, Midwest, or globally will not use New Jersey curbside glass to make their bottles. Several New England states and New York have bottle bills that supply the glass plants throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region with clean material.
“Do not confuse industry opposition to this bill with opposition to using recycled content. In fact, the glass container industry desires more recycled content. GPI released a roadmap in 2021 on how to improve domestic glass recycling and offered an array of other policy changes to improve the situation in New Jersey. We strongly disagree with the proponents’ claims that this policy will fix New Jersey glass recycling. It will not. What should have been included in the New Jersey bill are: policy changes that would put performance standards on facilities that process curbside recyclables because high residual contamination and poor quality make much of the state’s MRF (material recovery facility) glass unusable; additional support for infrastructure to create cleaner streams of glass if the MRFs are unable or unwilling to reduce contamination, and restrictions to keep New Jersey glass bottles and jars out of landfills. Without these policies, the legislation will not improve glass recycling in New Jersey.”