Glass Works: Communities Give Glass Recycling the Green Light
Communities and new businesses are focusing on improving the quality of recycled glass.
The rapid rise of single-stream curbside recycling, along with the number of materials being put in the recycling cart, has created convenience for consumers. However, single-stream programs also result in increased contamination for all materials, particularly recycled glass containers. Contamination in single-stream collection can be up to seven times higher than that of recycling systems where materials are collected source-separated.
To respond, communities and new businesses are focusing on improving the quality of recycled glass so it can be used to make new bottles and jars, while keeping things convenient for consumers. Here are a few standout programs.
New Colorado Business Targets Glass Recycling
A Colorado start-up called Clear Intentions is working in the greater Denver area to help bars/restaurants and residents recycle their glass containers. With the help of a state grant, the company established a glass recycling facility about a year ago.
Clear Intentions offers an assessment of the recycled glass its clients produce, then provides the locations with several 64-gal carts. A weekly pickup takes all that glass to the warehouse, where it is sorted and processed. The finished product is then sold to glass container manufacturers and to businesses making fiberglass insulation.
The company is breaking into public glass recycling with neighborhood drop-off recycling bins. Placed near grocery stores, parks, and liquor stores, these glass recycling stations are available for the entire community to use. The company also collects recycled glass at local Brew Fests.
New Jersey City Returns to Dual-Stream Recycling
This summer, the city of Summit, N.J., began working with F. Basso Jr. Rubbish Removal Inc. to transition from single-stream recycling collection to dual-stream residential recycling in order to reduce contamination. The city is now requiring residents to separate all recyclable material into two bins: one for glass, plastic and cans; and the other for paper and cardboard.
While the dual-stream curbside collection system was always in place, the previous recycling vendor allowed residents to place all recycled materials into a single collection bin. The potential convenience of this process resulted in increased contamination and an excessive amount of material that ultimately had to be landfilled.
The new vendor will also use separate collection vehicles for each of the recycling bins to ensure less contamination and to facilitate a more cost-effective recovery system. In addition to improved market value for the recovered end products, the amount of recyclable material sent to the landfill is significantly reduced.
Kansas Community Pilots Curbside Glass Recycling
Prairie Village, Kan., is the newest Kansas City-area municipality to see the return of curbside glass recycling. Deffenbaugh Industries will roll out a trial curbside glass recycling program in the community beginning this month to about 200 homes.
Based on pilot results, the company could introduce the program citywide next year. The pilot program will be free to the city and its residents. Deffenbaugh has partnered with Ripple Glass of Kansas City, Mo., which supplies recycled glass to the glass container and fiberglass insulation industries. The hope is to see glass recycling become very easy and abundant on both sides of the state line.
Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of Ceramic Industry, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.