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Big Difference: Clean Sorted Glass Vs. Commingled Low-Quality Glass 
When the City on Jan. 1 stopped accepting glass in the curbside single-stream recycling program, the Solid Waste Office explained that during the processing of recyclables, glass gets broken into small pieces and intermingled, producing a very low-quality glass commodity for which there's no market.

Saying this is one thing. But seeing is believing.

Below is a photo showing a typical load of glass at the end of single-stream processing:

Broken, commingled glass at the end of single-stream processing.

Pretty nasty, right? These dirty, commingled glass pieces aren't easily sold to a recycler to be melted down into new products, so they typically wind up in a landfill. At best, they might be ground down into a sand-like landfill cover material.

Compare the photo above to these photos (below), showing glass jars and bottles that are cleaner and separated by color. These photos are of loads collected from a City recycling drop-off center:

Separated clear glass

Separated green glass

"The photos really illustrate how the differences in collection and processing affect the quality of the end product," says Rachel Butzler, the City's Solid Waste Manager. "The quality of the glass is what determines whether it gets recycled or landfilled, so we really appreciate the residents who are willing to make the extra effort and bring their glass in to one of the City's five recycling drop-off centers. We know that glass going to a landfill is absolutely the last thing that our enthusiastic residential recyclers want.”

Here’s a link to more information and locations of City of Knoxville, Knox County and University of Tennessee recycling drop-off centers: http://bit.ly/2hceNFE

Stay tuned! The City has been gathering input from residents about ways to improve the operation of the drop-off centers – including the possibility of adding new locations to make it easier for residents to recycle glass. We'll be reporting the findings of that survey soon.

Posted by evreeland On 27 February, 2017 at 5:56 PM