The 2023 Glass Recycling Survey suggests glass recycling remains important to the public-sector, glass industry, and consumers. More than 93% of public-sector respondents to the survey conducted by the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC) indicated residents expect to recycle glass, up from 90% in 2020.

“The 2023 survey reflects what we hear from GRC members, communities and material management professionals – residents want to recycle glass,” said Bob Hippert, Sustainability Strategy Leader of Manufacturing for O-I Glass, a bottle manufacturer. Hippert also sits on the GRC’s Leadership Committee. “Glass is a material that can be endlessly recycled and has big payoffs for the environment through reduced demand for raw materials and energy, while cutting CO2 emissions.”

The survey also highlighted top challenges faced by the public-sector respondents to include cost-effectiveness and lack of acceptance/recycling options. Additionally, nearly 87% of public-sector respondents and 83% of glass industry respondents expressed interest in grants to help strengthen glass recycling.

“Glass recycling is not without its challenges,” stated Lydia Gibson, Director of Sustainability and Strategic Analysis at SMI, North America’s largest glass recycler. Gibson also sits on the GRC’s Leadership Committee and MRF Certification Committee. “Critical to overcoming these challenges is creating local circular economies where used glass can be economically collected, sorted, transported, and then made into new products. That takes investments of effort and funding from all players in the glass recycling chain including brands, manufacturers, legislators, communities, material processors, and end markets.”

The GRC conducts surveys to measure how different members of the glass recycling chain view the current state of glass recycling, using the data to inform the coalition’s services. The 2023 nationwide survey received responses from 262 representatives including recycling coordinators, solid waste staff, material recovery facility operators, glass processors, and brand and manufacturer representatives. Surveys on glass recycling for the GRC were administered by RRS in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2023.

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