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Ohio seeks more recycled glass for manufacturers

Associated Press

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MARION, OHIO: Ohioans aren’t recycling nearly as much glass as major manufacturers seek for repurposing, so the state is trying to boost that market by getting more bars and taverns to recycle, a state environmental administrator said.

Ninety percent of container glass is sent to landfills instead of being recycled and repurposed, Terrie TerMeer of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency told the Marion Star. TerMeer said the state has been trying to build up the recycled glass market by adding drop-off centers and reaching out to places such as bars that likely have lots of leftover glass containers.

Angie Carbetta, director of recycling and litter prevention for Marion County in north-central Ohio, said a pilot program there involving 31 bars yielded 2.5 tons of glass weekly. Similar programs are planned in Columbus and Cleveland.

“What we recognize in Ohio is that we have major manufacturers who are in need of glass, so this is an economic issue, a retaining jobs kind of issue,” TerMeer said.

An official with fiberglass insulation manufacturer Owens Corning, one of Ohio’s top consumers of recycled glass, said the material has become an important part of its business model and energy-conservation certifications require a certain amount of recycled material in its fiberglass. Ohio’s major glass manufacturers could use every glass bottle that is thrown away, said Frank O’Brien-Bernini, chief sustainability officer for Toledo-based Owens Corning.

He said the company uses glass collected in recycling programs around the country, with transportation costs falling on Owens-Corning and other glass plants in Ohio.

A spokeswoman for bottle maker Owens-Illinois, another of Ohio’s top consumers of recycled glass, said the company’s Zanesville plant used 62 tons of recycled glass every day in 2012. Recycled glass from Michigan and Pennsylvania was shipped in to make up the shortfall from Ohio, company spokeswoman Beth Peery said.

An EPA report in 2011 said Ohio’s shortfall in recycled glass was as much as 185,000 tons annually.


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