The COVID-19 pandemic has cut recycling rates in the United States in several ways. As a result, glass producers are struggling to find recycled content to manufacture their products.
This struggle could cause problems in coming months when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes ready for distribution because vaccines are delivered in glass vials.
And that looming problem could in turn slow the production of other glass containers such as jars used to package food.
Public health experts are citing the impending shortage of vaccine vials as a major challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic response. It’s estimated that between 7 billion and 14 billion vials will be needed to distribute the vaccine. That’s a huge production undertaking that will take months to complete. It will take even longer if supply chains in the glass industry continue to be hampered by shortages of recycled glass content.