Through a partnership, End of Waste Foundation (EOW), Rocky Mountain Bottling Company and Momentum Recycling diverted more than 2 million pounds of glass from landfills in July and August. The collaboration, which began in June, creates a sustainable and circular economy in the glass industry in order to tackle a recurring issue in Colorado.
Despite having a reputation for being a green state, Colorado’s recycling rate is nearly half of the national average, and 4.2 percent of landfill waste is composed of glass. The primary factors in driving the low recycling rate include inconveniences for consumers and unavoidable economic realities. China stopped accepting some of the world’s recyclables in 2018, and Colorado is one of 40 states without bottle deposit laws. Glass often represents a net loss for many materials recovery facilities (MRFs). The value of clean recyclable glass is only $35 per ton, while it costs about the same to haul, sort and clean the material for processing.
However, the EOW Blockchain Waste Traceability Software (BWTS) creates a pathway toward efficiency and transparency within the recycling industry. In order to offset costs and incentivize glass recycling, EOW promotes a “Distributed Shared Responsibility” model that puts product manufacturers, distributors, retailers and citizens on the same level.
Environmentally conscious businesses and consumers can contribute to a certificate-based system. After a consumer throws their bottle into a recycling bin, the BWTS model begins its cycle:
- MRF inputs quantities of sorted glass to be delivered to the processor.
- The processor validates quantities and reports glass cullets shipped to the manufacturer.
- The manufacturer validates quantities and reports recycled glass quantities to EOW.
- A glass certificate encapsulating all the data is created.
- EOW makes the verified quantities available in the marketplace.
- Sustainable businesses and citizens contribute to receive a glass certificate to offset their carbon footprint.
Within two months, the EOW platform tracked and recycled 1,348 tons of glass. However, the overall goal is increasing average recycling rates in the United States from 33 percent to 85 percent by 2030. Reaching this goal amounts to saving 4.6 million tons of glass from landfills and represents a 1.6 million ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year. The reduction in CO2 emissions is akin to taking 313,470 passenger vehicles off the road per year. This process has already begun in Colorado, Utah and Missouri with Ripple Glass.
"In 1960, the recycling rate hovered at 6 percent, and in 2019, the national average is at 33 percent. If we continue at this trajectory, it would take us more than 100 years to achieve our goal of an 85 percent recycling rate," said EOW Founder and CEO Ionut Georgescu in a statement. "We believe our independent and self-regulated system helps fulfill the goals and needs of all stakeholders involved, including consumers. Our partnership with Rocky Mountain Bottling Company and Momentum Recycling puts us on a sustainable path to a healthier planet.”