Last week we left off with the understanding that demand for glass continues to outpace the supply. How and where do we start to change glass recycling policies?
It’s not that difficult for residential areas because many places have designated recycling centers which accept glass. (You can usually locate these through your local government).
That sounds easy enough but what about everybody else?
DIY recycling isn’t feasible for everyone due to the potential of large volumes of recycling and the time needed for busy companies to take their glass to a designated center — if there even is one in their area.
The alcoholic beverage industry uses over fifty percent of all glass containers, with the majority most likely coming from bars, restaurants, and hotels where beverages are consumed on the premises. It’s difficult to even imagine the huge volume of recyclable glass these businesses can generate.
- As mentioned in the first part of this discussion Nashville, Tennessee can generate up to 1500 used bottles per hour on a busy night
- And after North Carolina passed a 2008 law requiring Alcohol Beverage Permit holders to recycle their beverage containers, the number of glass bottles recovered for recycling almost doubled over only the next three years.
(source: Glass Packaging Institute)
What a huge opportunity for the hospitality & food services industry and other companies to be leaders of a renewed, energized effort to reuse this ageless natural product.
But we’re back to how to solve the problem of separating out the good, reusable glass. The processors do want glass. One of two things must happen to get glass to the processors. Recycling collection companies must run a dedicated glass route or manually sort what they pick up and do so without losing money in their operation.
Even though they realized the potential obstacles, M-PASS Environmental wanted to find an answer to help businesses and property management companies recycle glass in the Atlanta metro area.
“A number of forces are still working against us,” said M-PASS General Manager Chris Witherspoon. “For example, states with higher tipping fees (fees charged per load at landfills) are more motivated to separate glass and truck it to a processor. For example, disposal rates at North Carolina’s landfills are double the rates in Georgia. And North Carolina’s collection rates of recyclable glass reflect that difference.”
Okay, now I better understand the issues. But isn’t there any good news about a solution?
Yes! For residential recycling, find out if your collection company sorts out glass and, if not, where you can drop off your glass. (My neighbors and I coordinate so we each only have to make a trip to our county recycling site every other month).
Businesses have another option – and they don’t have to take anything anywhere.
In February of this year, M-PASS took the lead in glass recycling solutions in the Atlanta area when they began offering a single stream or dual stream recycling program that includes glass.
“This means we can accept glass from our clients because our glass is manually separated and sorted, enabling it to skip the MRF recycling step and go directly to a glass recycling company instead. We are able to do this by partnering with a company that does the manual separation and then sells the product directly to the glass processor,” explained President and Founder Lorraine White. “It has already had a financial benefit for our clients because it means they have less trash to dispose of. Of course, the financial benefit can be greater for companies that generate a greater amount of recyclable materials.”
Here’s the equation: recycling glass = more jobs + energy savings +
greater financial benefit to companies who recycle glass
“It’s no surprise that M-PASS has worked to be at the front of this issue in Georgia,” White continued. “We are recognized in our industry for our ability to analyze a situation, find solutions, and reduce operating expenses. We are also eager to cooperate, and often provide consulting services for other companies in the industry.”
Glass is not going away … neither is M-PASS