California is on pace to recycle nearly 80% of the glass introduced into commerce in 2008, according to the latest statistics -- up from 71% in 2007.
Meanwhile, while the U.S. rate of glass recycling is increasing -- to 28% in 2007 from 25% -- it lags far behind the rate in California.
According to the Glass Packaging Institute, the industry group for glass container makers, it all has to do with those nickle and dime deposits some states place on glass containers. (That, and targeted initiatives in some states, like Colorado and North Carolina, to require bars and restaurants to do a better job recycling their customer's detritus.)
Evidence: glass beer and soft drink bottles, which are the most likely to have bottle deposits, were recycled nationally at a rate of 34.5% in 2007 (up from 30.7% in 2006). The rate of recycling for wine and liquor bottles, meanwhile, remained flat at 15%.
The figures also reinforce the notion that bottle deposits on additional beverage categories would make a world of difference in increasing recycling rates, and decreasing landfill clogging. Most beverage deposit laws were passed in the 1970s when carbonated beverages -- beer and soda -- dominated the industry. Now, bottled water, iced tea, energy drinks and other non-carbonated beverages are major players, but customers buying them aren't charged a deposit, and so are given no incentive to redeem them for cash when they've finished drinking them.
In some states, like in New York, expansions of the bottle bill have been held up for year by political bickering and lobbying by various factions of the beverage and grocery industries. Reports like these remind us why that lobbying has to be defeated by common sense. There's no reason all glass can't be recycled, or why plastic beverage containers of all stripes shouldn't be given a second life ... and a third and fourth and ...About GPI The Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) is the trade association representing the North American glass container industry. Through GPI, glass container manufacturers speak with one voice to advocate industry standards, promote sound environmental policies and educate packaging professionals. For more information, visit http://www.gpi.org.
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