Earlier this year, Houston joined a growing number of US cities that scrapped their glass recycling program because the city’s recycling contractor, Waste Management, determined that it was no longer profitable to include glass in the City’s curbside recycling program. Last week, Houston’s mayor announced that it had reached an agreement with Strategic Materials, the largest glass recycler in North America, to collect Houston’s glass in a pilot program.
Pilot program seeks to re-energize glass recycling
According to the City, Strategic Materials has placed two containers in centralized collection areas for residents to drop off their unwanted container glass. Prior to dropping off the glass, residents are asked to rinse out the containers and remove any caps, lids or corks. Strategic Materials intends to place an additional eight containers in other parts of the city. The City of Houston also operates nine glass drop-off stations for residents who want to recycle container glass.
Under the pilot program with Strategic Materials, the City of Houston will not receive any revenue for the recycled glass, but the pilot offers residents who prefer to recycle glass a free option for safely disposing of container glass.
The issue of glass recycling has emerged in many cities, as they try to cope with the increase in volume of container glass their residents generate at the same time the worldwide demand for recycled container glass has dropped. The City of Houston saved about $2 million by eliminating container glass from the list of items accepted by its curbside recycling program.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, about 28% of all container glass in the US is recycled, and 80% of the recycled glass comes from residential sources. In the absence of municipal container recycling programs, the agency estimates that more than 90% of container glass would end up in landfills.
About half of all states have at least one glass processing facility that can manage recycled container glass. For the states that don’t have processing facilities, that means paying extra to transport recycled glass to the nearest processing plant. That adds costs and reduces the already-slim margins involved in recycling glass. The issue of cost is significant, and few municipalities have come up with cost-effective methods for recycling container glass.
At the same time, glass has become an architectural staple for both interior and exterior design. If you’d like to see some inspiration for decorating with glass, please check out the rest of our site. If you’d like to purchase Glassprimer™ glass paint, please visit our online store .
Photo Credit: Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center , via Flickr.com