Salt Lake City, Utah has recently adopted a new curbside glass recycling program, offered to residents as an optional waste disposal service. The program was announced last July as the city inked a deal with a local company, Momentum Recycling, to carry out this new service. The deal provides customers with their own bins for collecting glass jars and bottles, regardless of color. Subscribers can also sign up for a notification service provided by the company that will remind customers of their collection days via text, email, or phone.
Prior to the agreement, both residents and businesses could only recycle their glass by taking it to specific drop-off points throughout the city. The extra effort involved in glass recycling may have deterred potential recyclers from utilizing these services, as a lot of glass waste remained in Salt Lake City’s dumpsters and trash bins. Nevertheless, the city has seen a strong demand for curbside recycling programs in certain neighborhoods. These areas will constitute the first customers to utilize the new program.
The glass that Momentum collects from its customers goes through a stringent preparation process before it can be reused. First, every piece of glass is sorted based on its color. This is done because colored glass contains a coloring chemical that cannot be separated from the glass once its been applied. Therefore, brown bottles can only be used to make new brown bottles etc.
Once the glass has been sorted, it is cleaned of all dirt and other contaminants and moved to a cullet processor where it will be melted down. “Cullet” is the industry term for recycled glass that has been reduced to its raw form. From there, it is shipped off to various manufacturers who will use the cullet to make new glass products. These products can range from new containers to fiberglass insulation.
Both the city and Momentum Recycling hope that their new recycling program will expand as more residents opt to divert their glass waste from landfills. Future plans might also include offering the service to businesses in Salt Lake City who currently use regular trash containers for disposing of their waste, including glass products.