Some materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and cities across the country have eliminated curbside recycling of glass due to contamination, safety and China’s import restrictions. But a recent report in Recycling Today debunks some of the myths associated with glass recycling.
For instance, one company, Strategic Materials has 50 locations across North America and recycles 3 million tons of glass per year. The glass recycler accepts glass from MRFs across the country and works with cities to help design cleanup systems to maximize the value of glass. A spokesperson for the company claims that when it comes down to it, MRFs have been cutting glass from curbside recycling programs to reduce processing costs or because they don’t have the proper equipment to clean the material.
Last summer, the Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC) reported that 93 percent of residents and consumers across the country expect to be able to recycle their glass. In its annual survey, GRC noted that public sector representatives were less concerned than they were in 2017 about glass recycling conditions, and concern decreased by 14 percent. Public sector respondents were also significantly less concerned about glass contamination and end markets for recycled glass compared to 2017. However, MRFs' and glass industry representatives’ concerns increased by 14 percent from 2017.
Recycling Today has more details:
Laura Hennemann, vice president of marketing and communications for Houston-based Strategic Materials Inc., hears a variety of myths about glass recycling every day. She lists them off: Broken glass and mixed glass can’t be recycled. Glass must be washed and cleaned. Glass contaminates other recyclables. Glass can’t be recycled due to China’s National Sword policy. Glass has no end market.
Then she debunks them.
“We accept broken glass. We actually prefer it because you can get more into your container to bring to us,” Hennemann says.
“We use optical sorters to separate glass by color, so when it comes to us it’s not a problem if it’s mixed,” she continues. “Labels and organics on glass don’t present a problem. That’s part of processing to get rid of those items.”