Scott DeFife, president of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), testified before the New York State Senate and Assembly Committees on Environmental Conservation, highlighting the benefits of proposed bottle bill legislation and voicing support for the efforts of State Senate Environmental Committee Chair Peter Harckham and Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Deborah Glick to usher this bill into law.
“GPI is supportive of expanding the state’s bottle bill to capture all beverage containers, especially as serious consideration is being given to establishing a packaging-focused extended producer responsibility (EPR) program,” said DeFife in written testimony.
“Most importantly, it is critical to focus on the quality of the commodity material,” said DeFife. “The quality of the glass recovered through the deposit return (bottle bill) program is always much higher than any glass recovered through the curbside commingled recycling system, even when there is a dual-stream system in place in municipalities such as NYC.” This is an important distinction — having a bottle deposit program reduces energy consumption and the need for raw materials.
The glass container manufacturing industry is a cornerstone of the local economy in New York and across the country. With two glass container manufacturing plants in New York — O-I Glass in Auburn and Anchor Glass in Elmira — GPI recognizes the substantial contribution of these plants to the state’s economy, producing millions of bottles daily for local and regional markets and creating jobs.
DeFife also noted that a more efficient, closed-loop system for glass recycling is vital to achieving sustainability goals, reducing environmental stress, and preserving valuable resources. “Recycled glass is a key component of the manufacturing process,” said DeFife in written testimony. “The U.S. industry purchases about 2.3 million tons of recycled glass each year, and the average bottle or jar contains 1/3 recycled glass. For every 10% of recycled glass added to the batch mix, energy usage can be reduced 2-3%, with additional corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. When you add the benefit of what is a better than 1-to-1 offset of raw materials saved by using recycled glass to make new containers, it is clear that using recycled glass has significant benefits to the environment of the region and should be prioritized.”
GPI supports Harckham and Glick’s efforts to pass Bottle Bill legislation in New York, and hopes that the recommendations submitted in this testimony will be considered as areas to improve the bill as it moves toward passage — and GPI hopes other states follow New York’s lead in this crucial area.