57% Say 'Zero Waste' Achievement Is More than 40 Years Away

Although a majority of Americans (57 percent) would like for the United States to achieve “zero-waste”(where all products are reused and any trash sent to landfills is minimal) in 20 years or less, they believe it will take 41 years or more (53 percent) before “zero-waste” can be achieved.

That statistic results from a brief survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Opinion Research for the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI) from April 8 – 11, with a margin of error of +/-5 percent.

“Creating ‘zero-waste’ in the U.S. is a goal that needs to be shared by all industries, communities, and consumers,” says Joseph Cattaneo, GPI president. “In this regard, the glass container industry continues to forge ahead in creating more awareness about the environmental benefits of glass container recycling to meet our goal to use up to 50 percent recycled content in the manufacture of new glass bottles and jars by 2013.”

GPI encourages consumers to make glass recycling a daily habit to help create a better environment. Made from all-natural resources—sand, soda ash, limestone, and recycled glass—and with a 400-year history in the American marketplace, glass is the only packaging material “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for food and beverage contact. Glass containers are also endlessly recyclable in a closed loop system and can go from recycling bin to store shelf in as little as 30 days.

Doubling the U.S. glass container recycling rate (28.1 percent in 2008) would allow manufacturers to use 50 percent recycled glass to make new glass containers, saving enough energy to power 21,978 homes for one year and removing 181,550 tons of waste from landfills every month.

To meet the 50 percent recycled content goal, GPI and its members are actively supporting on-premise bar, restaurant, and hotel recycling initiatives. More than 28 percent of beverages packaged in glass are sold in restaurants and other away-from-home venues. Glass container manufacturers also support innovative curbside collection practices and will continue to work with policymakers to improve and expand state beverage deposit return programs.

GPI is the trade association representing the North American glass container industry.