Glass Packaging Institute President Submits Testimony to New York State Legislature on Bottle Bill

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.  

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