Frequent Exclusion of Glass From Curbside Recycling Will Restrict Growth in Volumes Recovered


Cleveland, OH, March 16, 2020 — Post-consumer glass recovered from the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream in the US is forecast to see only marginal annual gains in volume terms through 2023, according to Recovered Glass: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. Recovery growth is expected to lag generation gains due to the increasing exclusion of glass from many curbside recycling programs. Further, volumes generated and recovered in the dominant beer and soft drink glass bottle segment are expected to fall, as aluminum and plastic packaging options continue to displace glass bottles. Continued high rates of recycling of glass bottles in states with deposit laws will buffer recovery volumes from outright declines. An expansion in recycling programs serving commercial establishments like bars and restaurants and a rise in drop-off glass collection programs will also help to stave off losses.

While recovery rates for waste glass produced from containers are expected to see small increases over the forecast period, average post-consumer glass recovery rates are expected to stagnate. Growing generation volumes of post-consumer glass from durable goods, for which recovery volumes are negligible, will offset growth in recovery rates for container glass.

These and other key insights are featured in Recovered Glass: United States. This report forecasts to 2023 US recovery of post-consumer glass from the US municipal solid waste (MSW) stream in short tons. For comparison, this report also forecasts to 2023 the total generation of post-consumer glass in the MSW stream. Total post-consumer glass recovery and generation are segmented by source product in terms of:

  • beer and soft drink bottles
  • wine and liquor bottles
  • other bottles and jars
  • durable goods (generation only)

To illustrate historical trends, total glass recovery, generation, and the various segments are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018.

Pre-consumer glass (e.g., finished glass that breaks at a bottling or distribution facility) is excluded. The annual volume of glass recovered in the US from durable goods (e.g., appliances, furniture, and electronics) is negligible, and is therefore not included in total recovered glass. Throughout this report, measures in tons refer to short tons.

More information about the report is available at: