The Annual Conference opened today with the Forming Committee discussing topics such as EPDs and the recyclability of glass.

The National Glass Association/Glass Association of North America Annual Conference 2019 opened today at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Fla. The sessions began this afternoon with the Forming Committee, previously the flat glass manufacturers division, where members focused on a number of activities.

One of the discussion topics was an update on AB 262, the Buy Clean California Act, from Vikas Ahuja from Thinkstep. This law requires contractors bidding on state infrastructure and construction projects to disclose the global warming potential (GWP) for eligible materials, including flat glass, by way of an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). He explained that the California Department of General Services (DGS) will set a maximum allowable GWP based on industry-average EPD for the material. The DGS will require manufacturers to submit product-specific EPDs reflecting the GWP results for each manufacturing facility.

Ahuja explained EPDs are now requested by the state as of January 1 and will be required effective January 1, 2020. By January 1, 2021 the DGS will publish the maximum acceptable GWP for eligible materials; likewise EPDs will be required and used to gauge GWP compliance of eligible materials.

In its response to the DGS, the association said there wasn’t enough time to produce the required EPDs and that facility-specific results do not represent how products go to market.

The DGS responded that the Buy Clean California Act timelines have been revised by AB 1817 and that it interprets “facility-specific EPD” as a product-specific EPD originating from a single family. The DGS also responded that AB 262’s requirements for facility-specific EPDs could result in excluding products from the California marketplace and the issue will be further investigated.

Technical director Urmilla Sowell stressed the need for further discussion, and will provide more updates for everyone. She added that the group has explained to the DGS that processed glass, not flat glass, is what’s used in buildings.

The group also discussed the recyclability of raw material resource management and various programs or company efforts to recycle or reuse glass to keep it out of the landfill.

One concern for some members isn’t recycling float glass, but processed/fabricated glass. At this stage it may not be “clean” since it may already be processed with sealants or other materials.

One discussion related to writing a glass informational bulletin that would educate fabricators on what they need to know if they want to recycle glass.

It could be a challenge for fabricators to ensure their cullet is clean before returning to a float glass manufacturer, for example. This is important to prevent contamination.

Members discussed whether both parties, fabricators and manufactures, are willing to go through these efforts to ensure a successful recyclability program.

Another possibility for keeping glass out of the landfill could include finding other downstream uses for it as opposed to returning it to the float manufacturer. For example, there are organizations that could use it to create art, furniture, etc.

Members discussed creating a survey that would explore what companies are doing with their scrap glass other than sending it to a landfill.

The Annual Conference continues this week through Thursday. Stay tuned to for more news and updates.