O-I Expanding Glass Recycling Ecosystems Through Glass4Good

Feb 22, 2024 3:30 PM ET

Recycled glass is valuable for glass manufacturers. It is one of the four main ingredients in creating new glass bottles and jars. O-I Glass aspires to make glass recycling available in 100% of the communities where we operate. We are getting creative to build glass recycling programs to support our communities, and Glass4Good has been one of our most successful programs. 

“Glass is a very unique material,” said Bob Hippert, Sustainability Strategy Leader at O-I. “It’s 100% recyclable, it is infinitely recyclable, and you can melt it over and over again without losing quality. You can combine it with any recycled content level to create new containers.”

Recycled glass is important not only to O-I, but also to consumers and customers that are asking for higher recycled content in the containers O-I makes, Hippert explained.

Using recycled glass to create new glass containers makes the manufacturing process more sustainable by requiring less energy and creating fewer emissions. For every one ton of recycled glass used in the manufacturing process, more than one ton of raw materials is saved, and for every 10% of recycled glass used in the manufacturing process, energy consumption is reduced by about 3% and carbon emissions by 5%. 

Glass4Good Generates Recycled Glass

Among our corporate sustainability goals is incorporating an average of 50% cullet, or recycled glass, in each package globally by 2030. One of the largest challenges in achieving that goal is the varying availability of cullet for manufacturing. Sometimes communities do not have the right equipment or the right systems in place to collect glass for recycling.

“We need a lot of cullet, but not all of this cullet is available out there in the market for us to procure, so we want to reach the ecosystem around our plant communities,” said Sammy Holaschutz, Recycling Systems Development Leader at O-I.

Glass4Good Creates Community Incentives

Through the Glass4Good program, O-I incentivizes residents to recycle – O-I makes a charitable donation based on the amount of glass that the community recycles. 

“Glass4Good gave us an opportunity to give back to our communities while also increasing recycled content for our products and bringing glass recycling to our communities,” said Elizebeth Hupp, Global Social Engagement Leader at O-I.

O-I operates Glass4Good in four communities in which the company operates - Danville, VA, Greeley, CO, James City County, VA, and Jefferson County, PA.

Glass is collected at designated collection sites throughout the communities, is weighed and processed into clean cullet, then returned to O-I facilities to be made into new glass bottles, sometimes in as little as 30 days.

The impact of a recycled bottle extends beyond the environmental benefits through Glass4Good. O-I incentivizes residents to recycle their glass by making a charitable donation to a local organization based on the weight of recycled glass every quarter, helping to better each Glass4Good community. 

Since the program’s inception in 2021, Glass4Good has collected over 1,200 tons of glass, resulting in over $47,000 in charitable donations to local organizations.

In Danville, VA, O-I makes charitable donations to the United Way of Danville Pittsylvania County – which uses donated funds to support the Danville Pittsylvania Cancer (DPC).

“Glass4Good is helping to save lives,” said Cathy Gore, President and CEO of United Way of Danville Pittsylvania County

In 2023, donations from the Danville program ensured that DPC clients could attend 224 appointments, covering a cumulative distance of nearly 19,000 miles

“Each visit means a cancer patient is receiving lifesaving treatment,” Gore explained.

Glass4Good has been well received by communities. All four programs saw an increase in the amount of glass recycled in 2023 compared to the previous year, most notably an 84% increase in the Greeley, Colorado program. 

The Glass4Good program would not be possible without strong partnerships across communities, non-profit organizations, customers, and suppliers. The program highlights the impact that can be made through collaboration and innovation, particularly in breaking down the barriers of glass recycling. These important partnerships help O-I to divert glass from landfills and better the communities in which they operate, one glass bottle at a time.