Smirnoff Program Seeks Boost in Glass Recycling

Smirnoff is taking part in a program to collect discarded glass to make into new bottles to use with its future products.

The beverage company is partnering with the Don’t Trash Glass (DTG) campaign and will support the program to work with more than 300 Chicago restaurants, bars, and local businesses to gather used and discarded glass bottles. The program is a combined effort with the Glass Packaging Institute and GlassKing Recovery & Recycling with the goal of increasing glass recycling in the area.

As part of the program, DTG will collect ready-to-recycle glass bottles from throughout the Chicago area. Smirnoff’s glass partners will process the bottles, which will then be transported to the company’s packaging plant in Plainfield, Illinois. The newly produced bottles will be filled and delivered to outlets across the United States.

The Glass Packaging Institute says glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without losing quality, which makes it unique in food and beverage packaging. The organization also says recycling glass can reduce emissions and energy consumption as opposed to using new raw materials.

The EPA estimates that nearly 40% of all beverage bottles were recycled as of 2018. Overall, 33% of glass food and beverage packaging is recycled. More than 28 million glass bottles and jars end up in landfills, the Glass Packaging Institute says.

Smirnoff says improving circular packaging and reducing waste is a priority for the company. It wants to use the DTG initiative to contribute to the company’s goal to reimagine packaging and become more sustainable.

Smirnoff’s parent company Diageo has pledged to use 100% recycled content in packaging by 2030. In addition to glass, Diageo has a goal to use 100% recycled materials in plastic packaging as well as ensure all its packaging will be widely recyclable.

Saint-Gobain North America plans to recycle 1,000 tons of glass per year over the next five years. Packaging alternatives to glass, such as paper ketchup and wine bottles, have also been developed.

GlassKing Recovery & Recycling hopes the Chicago program will help identify the need for glass recycling systems, as well as create circular manufacturing of the material. The Glass Packaging institute says it gives the chance for businesses to take charge of glass recycling processes.

“This partnership with Smirnoff helps support educational and relationship-building opportunities with local restaurants and bars so they can be at the forefront of glass recycling,” says Scott DeFife, president of the Glass Packaging Institute. “Encouraging these businesses to be influencers within the glass recycling process will have long-lasting effects, not only on our environment but also on the glass manufacturing and supply-chain process.”