The facility hopes to divert some of the state’s more than 300,000 tons of container glass that currently gets routed to the landfill. Colorado does not have a deposit law on bottles, which means that the state’s average glass recycling rates are on the low end of the spectrum. States with container deposits recycle as much as 60 percent of the container glass in their waste streams. By comparison, Colorado recycles less than 25% of its container glass today.
The new recycling facility will recapture and recycle about 50,000 tons of container glass each year, or about 15% of the glass that currently ends up in the landfill. Momentum Recycling has partnered with a number of large waste haulers to ensure that they have a sufficient stream of container glass to reclaim.
Reducing the amount of new container glass is an important component of the state’s green action plan. That’s because it takes more energy to create glass from raw materials than it does to recycle existing glass. In 2013, glass recycling had the same impact as removing nearly one-quarter of a million vehicles from the road.
The partnership is interesting because it comes at a time when many cities are struggling with the cost and logistics associated with collecting, storing and recycling glass containers. In many cases, glass recycling has moved from an income stream to an additional cost. City budgets are often so tight that they do not allow municipalities to take a loss on recycling operations. To accommodate that, many cities have simply dropped glass from their recycling plans, rather than paying to have the glass hauled away and stored elsewhere.
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