What's the problem?
Creating glass consumes a lot of resources: raw material, energy, labor, transportation
costs and more. Disposing of glass in landfills wastes all that time, effort and
In the Kansas City region, we consume about 80,000 tons of container glass each
year. Until recently, only about 5% of that was recycled (although we're getting
better!); the national average is 30% or higher and some other countries reuse more
than 90% of their glass.
How do I handle it?
One of the biggest reasons glass isn't accepted in your curbside bin? Glass breaks.
If broken glass gets into a load of other recyclables like paper or cardboard, it
contaminates them and makes the materials unusable and unable to be recycled. In
addition, glass poses a safety hazard for the workers who handle the waste, not
to mention the danger of broken glass on neighborhood streets or sidewalks.
But that doesn't mean you can't recycle glass in our area! There's likely a big,
Glass bin near you where you can easily drop off your glass bottles and
containers, and they'll help turn your glass into a variety of new products! And
you can drop off glass at a number of community recycling centers in the region.
- Drink and condiment bottles
- Jars (pickles, mayonnaise, etc.)
- Lids and caps
- Snack containers
Not Accepted Glass:
- Light bulbs
- Window plate glass
- Pyrex or CorningWare
Why recycle glass?
Aside from keeping glass out of landfills, there are a number of benefits to recycling
- Container glass is 100% recyclable, can be recycled endlessly, and can be used to
make a number of products.
- Using recycled glass produces 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution
than creating new glass (or fiberglass) from raw materials.
- Every ton of glass recycled saves more than one ton of raw materials. That means
it doesn't have to be mined from the earth, transported, processed, etc.
- Recycling a single glass bottle saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt light
bulb for four hours.
- Recycling glass provides local businesses with material to make new products, such
as fiberglass insulation or new bottles.
How does glass recycling work?
- Glass bottles and containers are taken to a Ripple Glass bin or your community recycling
- From there, glass is transported to processing plant, where it is decontaminated,
crushed into smaller pieces, dried, separated by color, sorted and screened.
- The crushed and cleaned material — called "cullet" — is transported
to companies who will use the cullet to make new products.
What products can be made from recycled glass?
The best glass for recycling is color-sorted and free of all dirt and other contaminants.
This higher grade is used to make new bottles, jars, and other containers. Glass
that doesn't meet certain standards still has a number of important uses, such as
an ingredient in home improvement or construction products. A few typical items
made with recycled glass:
- New glass containers and bottles
- Fiberglass and fiberglass insulation
- Reflective paints and roadway products
- Tile, countertops and floors
Locally, the Owens Corning company uses the cullet provided by Ripple Glass to make
fiberglass insulation, and Verallia North America uses it to create new glass containers
for the beverage and spirits industries, including Kansas City's own Boulevard Brewery.