That’s what Boulevard Brewing did about 10 years ago. In Georgia, Candler Recycling Center reports that glass and plastic recycling is “suspended” until the county can find a place to take these materials. Glass bottles and jars make attractive vessels for fresh flowers and don’t distract the eye. The key ingredients used in glassmaking are sand (mainly silica, SiO2), sodium carbonate (also known as soda ash, Na2CO3), and limestone (CaCO3). If you see this comment, i'd like more info on who you are looking at using this way to recycle. No longer must we labor. According to Pennsylvania State University’s John C. Mauro, adding cullet to the feed mixture also improves the quality of glass products. “It was a classic chicken-and-egg problem,” says Michelle Goth. Yet each year only one-third of the roughly 10 million metric tons of glass that Americans throw away is recycled. So one key factor that stands in the way of the US glass industry’s ability to boost recycling numbers is the limited availability of satisfactory cullet produced via single-stream processing. Recycling is a for-profit industry that relies on the ability to sell reclaimed materials at a profit. This is in part because drop-off centers often require bottles to be sorted by color when you drop them off. US municipalities manage residential recycling primarily via single-stream curbside collection. Transporting glass waste and cullet is costly because of their weight, and those costs can be a deal breaker for some glassmakers and can prevent would-be cullet suppliers from opening processing facilities. gets recycled in several European nations, on average. Glass is easy to recycle, but not in a single bin with paper and plastic. Should I Cushion the Glass in My Recycling Bin? In Decatur, recycling is good for the environment, and for the wallet. of glass is disposed of every year in the US. Optical sorting machines have been around for a few years now. This is compounded by the fact that there are very few glass recycling centers around the country. The ideal is to purchase what you can of your food in bulk, with as little disposable packaging as possible, which (bonus!) The effort has driven locals to regularly fill the bins with clean, high-quality recyclable glass. Credit: Owens-Illinois Probably not quickly, experts say. Residents of Mooresville and Statesville should no longer put glass in recycling. When it doesn’t pay to recycle a given material, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) will often stop accepting it. put into multistream collections gets recycled. The glass recycling problem: Why is glass no longer being accepted for recycling in many markets? Go online and find a local drop-off center that you can bring your glass to. Thank you for sharing Brenda. It's kind of a pain, but I make the extra effort at least. By continuing to use this site you are agreeing to our COOKIE POLICY. Find out why some haulers are no longer accepting glass and learn about some good alternatives for recycling yours. First, cullet allows glass manufacturers to reduce their need for raw materials. Multistream recycling, which is a far less common approach in the US, is simpler on the processing end. Would it be feasible to mandate the glass bottler pay for the recycle process equipment , ( he would pass the cost on to his customer -. For example, 10 states have passed so-called bottle bills that require consumers to pay deposits on beverage bottles. We need your zip code to see if you're eligible to get rewarded for recycling at home. Sign in with a different account. This means those glass tomato-sauce jars can turn out to be the perfect containers to store rice, flour, beans, and other foodstuffs. And, he says, the recycling rate discrepancies between the US and other countries result mainly from differences in government policy and consumer education and habits. Recycling food and beverage packaging is high on our list of to-dos because we use so much of it. Choose the membership that is right for you. In states with those laws, 98% of bottles are recycled, compared with the national average of roughly 33%. 7 Projects For Kids To Upcycle Jars And Bottles, Free Child Admission with Purchase of Adult Admission, Proper Green: Popular Resolutions for Health, Home, and Environment. A few communities have set up bottle-redemption centers and instituted separate curbside glass collection. China is no longer taking the world's waste. There was hardly any recycling in the community because there was no local cullet processor. I try to make a trip over there once a month or so. –Helen J. Dear Helen: Some haulers aren’t accepting glass any longer because it has become less cost-effective to recycle it. Doing so benefits manufacturers, the environment, and consumers. This means that food-grade glass can be recycled … The result is long, costly trips transporting glass from MRF to recycler. Today, recycling managers are facing new pressure as commodity prices have dropped. After several more separation steps, a device known as a glass-breaking screen removes most of the glass from the single-stream load so it can be sent to cullet suppliers, who clean it and make it furnace ready for glass manufacturers. RTS Recyclebank partners with cities and brands to reward residents for helping to make their communities cleaner, greener places. This site uses cookies to enhance your user experience. One significant difference between the US and European nations is size. Fairfax County is making a change this week by asking residents to keep glass out of curbside recycling. Only about one-third gets recycled. Adding the material to the mix reduces greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing, Nordmeyer points out. It’s time to get serious about recycling lithium-ion batteries, Alternative materials could shrink concrete’s giant carbon footprint, Porphyrin wheel sets record as largest aromatic ring. Did you get a PIN from us? Most of the efforts to boost glass-recycling rates in the US have been state and local affairs. Sign up for C&EN's must-read weekly newsletter. Picking up the pieces of US glass recycling. So Boulevard helped launch Ripple Glass, a cullet supplier for which Goth serves as general manager. “In the US, we tend to teach to the test, and recycling isn’t on the test,” he says. That’s not because of some intrinsic materials or chemical property that makes glass difficult to recycle. For those of us who spent most of our lives painstakingly separating plastic, glass, paper and metal, single-stream recycling is easy to love. And most municipalities are reluctant to do so. US glass-industry trade groups are working with manufacturers and government agencies to boost the numbers. It never wears out as a raw material, so old bottles and jars can be remanufactured into new glass containers over and over and over again. One example is a popular single-serve coffee-brewing product that features a plastic cup and foil lid. To send an e-mail to multiple recipients, separate e-mail addresses with a comma, semicolon, or both. For example, in the US, some materials recovery facilities do not recover any glass from their single streams because there are no nearby buyers to make it worthwhile, according to Rue. Chemical & Engineering News will not share your email address with any other person or company. Title: Why glass recycling in the US is broken. It provides many benefits to glass manufacturing. The rest ends up in landfills. You now have two options for glass disposal: Send me new rewards, ways to earn points, and info about my recycling as it happens. Single-stream means residents use their recycling bins to comingle glass with aluminum and steel cans, various types of plastic, newsprint, junk mail, cardboard, and other paper products. The laws are having the intended effect. “There are many reasons why more glass isn’t recycled in the US,” says David Rue, an engineer at the Gas Technology Institute near Chicago who recently completed a yearlong study of US glass recycling as a consultant for GMIC. Cullet also helps manufacturers save on energy costs. When glass goes into a landfill, it is not harming the environment or atmosphere. And national surveys show that Americans overwhelmingly favor glass recycling and deem it to be important. In the Phoenix area, Glass King Recovery and Recycling has drop-off bins for clean glass bottles. To switch to multistream systems, these municipalities would need to introduce taxes or fees to meet the higher collection and handling costs. And there was no processor because locals didn’t recycle much. Distances in the US between a materials recovery facility and a cullet supplier, or a cullet supplier and a buyer tend to be greater. These efforts begin with a top-to-bottom analysis of glass recycling to identify areas for improvement. The rest ends up in landfills. Running furnaces at lower temperatures extends furnace lives and reduces operating costs and, as a result, the price of the final glass products. And depending on how the US recycles, that processing is done relatively inefficiently compared with what happens in Europe. Using 10% cullet in the manufacturing feed lowers emissions of CO2 by roughly 5%. Password and Confirm password must match. Starting July 1, Greensboro residents will no longer be able to recycle glass in residential recycling cans. This type of collection requires a high level of consumer education and is considerably more expensive than single-stream collection. A continual increase in pricing caused glass recycling to become too expensive to keep in Port Orange. The idea is consumers will be more likely to recycle the bottles to get back their deposits. There is debate about how safe or unsafe it is to reuse plastic due to the leaching of chemicals, but glass can be reused endlessly until you are ready to recycle it. Learn why glass is no longer accepted in the curbside recycling program. “At that time, Waste Connections representatives cited several reasons for the change, including that glass was causing damage to equipment and no longer had a market as a recyclable … “It has an unlimited life and can be melted and recycled endlessly to make new glass products with no loss in quality,” he adds. But sometimes solving a problem requires grabbing the bull by the horns. Fairfax County residents can no longer recycle glass curbside. Glass recycling is the processing of waste glass into usable products. The glass industry regularly mixes cullet—a granular material made by crushing bottles and jars usually collected from recycling programs—with sand, limestone, and other raw materials to produce the molten glass needed to manufacture new bottles and jars. One kilogram of cullet replaces 1.2 kg of raw materials, according to James V. Nordmeyer, vice president of global sustainability at Owens-Illinois, a major manufacturer of glass bottles and containers. Brightly Colored Paper. Enjoy these benefits no matter which membership you pick. It was single stream, and apparently broken glass, would jam up their processing equipment. (optional). ACS values your privacy. If your neighborhood is still accepting glass, consider yourself lucky. Yet each year only one-third of the roughly 10 million metric tons of glass that Americans throw away is recycled. One outfit even offers portable units on trailers. My local municipality stopped taking glass in their recycling program, due to cost. Recycling in the U.S. is broken. Most recycling processing facilities are sending the broken mixed glass to a landfill because there is no manufacturer that needs or wants this glass. Related: Stiff-yet-supple plastic can be reshaped and recycled. thrown into single-stream recycling collections actually gets recycled. Check with your hauler before putting glass that might not be recyclable in your bin, and don’t put broken glass in your recycle. Well-meaning people think since those components can be recycled, they’re justified in tossing the whole thing—dirty filter, wet coffee grounds, and all—into a recycling bin. However, some recycling center may still accept it, so you can check with a recycling center near you. Mauro is a materials scientist and glass specialist who spent nearly 20 years at the glassmaker Corning. Basically, for every 6 metric tons of cullet used in manufacturing, glassmakers can cut 1 metric ton of CO2 emissions. “Recycled glass is nearly always part of the recipe for making new glass,” says Joseph J. Cattaneo, executive director of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), a trade association representing the North American glass-container industry. Recycling glass has many proven environmental benefits–it reduces emissions, saves energy, and reduces consumption of raw materials. Related: Chemistry may have solutions to our plastic trash problem. I live in Phoenix too. “We were disturbed to hear about the decision by this recycling center to no longer accept glass," Crane said. Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. If the spreadsheet permits, I think a portable cullet maker could serve several rural counties, a worthwhile multi-community enterprise (and social experiment). “Large quantities of high-quality cullet are essential to further increase the recycled content in our products,” says Frank O’Brien-Bernini, vice president and chief sustainability officer for Owens Corning, a major fiberglass manufacturer. They are available here in North America and the technology produces amazing results. | Straight out of the furnace, new glass bottles move down the manufacturing line. Next, automated separators called star screens, together with powerful air jets, remove cardboard and paper, while magnets pull out iron-containing materials. Recycling is a for-profit industry that relies on the ability to sell reclaimed materials at a profit. aggregate. When it comes to glass recycling, there’s container glass … and everything else. This article has been sent to the following recipient: Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. But most municipalities in the US stick with single stream because the collection costs are lower than those with multistream systems. Glass is infinitely recyclable without loss in quality. The U.S. recycling industry is overwhelmed — it can't keep up with the plastic being churned out. Will efforts like these local and state ones bump up recycling rates across the US? There are two types of cullet: internal and external. Or does it require labor intensive, manual sorting? There are two material characteristics that work against glass’s recyclability: Certain types of glass (like Pyrex and window glass) aren’t recyclable, so when glass breaks prior to being sorted at the MRF, it often must be discarded to ensure there is no contamination with potentially incompatible types of glass. So some recycling sorting facilities are no longer accepting glass. Trained operators manually remove scrap metal, textiles, hoses, and other materials that never belonged in the recycling bin and can damage sorting equipment. So you have to drive to one, and sort the glass yourself by color. This change applies to county collection customers and private haulers. The materials were previously sent to Bulloch County, which is no longer accepting glass or plastic. And the US’s roughly 33% glass-recycling rate, which pales compared with the 90% recycling rate in Switzerland, Germany, and other European countries, is not the result of a lack of technical know-how. Multistream glass typically bypasses materials recovery facilities and goes directly to cullet processors. In contrast, some European countries recycle more than 90% of their waste glass. In the US third, respectively the County ” Lipetz says operate in the future we were to. Brands to reward residents for helping to make a trip over there once a month or so of manufacturers... 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