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#WhyWasteIt? Glass Recycling in SLC

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Glass has a checkered past in Salt Lake City. It has been only recently that the City, through a close partnership with Momentum Recycling, has offered a voluntary curbside recycling service to residents.

One of the most common questions we are asked is “Why can’t I recycle my glass in the blue bin?” Many cities throughout the country offer glass recycling in the mixed recycling bin.

So why not Salt Lake City?

  1. It degrades materials. When glass is thrown in a mixed recycling, a good portion of it breaks and begins to resemble that from which it came – sand. Broken glass then gets embedded into the cardboard, plastic and paper, and is hard to remove. The glass shards are considered a contaminant and the material will be worth less on the recycling market. Broken glass is also a problem for automatic sorting systems used to collect and separate mixed recycling, acting as sandpaper and wearing down machinery faster, leading to more frequent, costly repairs.
  2. Less recovered material. Cities that offer mixed recycling with comingled glass recover significantly less material compared to glass recycled in a separate, glass-only bin. Mixed recycling generally results in less than half of all collected glass getting recycled. Over 95% of the glass collected for recycling in Salt Lake City ends up getting recycled – and that’s a number we’re proud of!

Over the next six weeks, SLCgreen will be posting a weekly #WhyWasteIt? series exploring all aspects of glass recycling in Salt Lake City. Look for our posts each Wednesday.

We’ll also be answering your questions about your curbside and drop off glass recycling services. So stay tuned, and we’ll see you next week.

Up next… The Basics of Curbside Glass.

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