Glass is difficult and costly to effectively separate from other recyclable materials like cardboard at recycling centers. Therefore, Mecklenburg County Solid Waste prefers residents bring their separated glass bottles and jars to one of their full service drop off centers. At those drop off sites, large yellow dumpsters have been clearly marked “Clean Glass Only”. When full, these non-contaminated, glass-only loads can be taken directly to glass processors to be easily recycled into new glass.
Why is it difficult to separate glass at the material recovery facility (MRF)?
When recyclables are collected in your single stream curbside collection bins, it goes to the MRF to be separated. The process involves breaking the glass and screening it out. Unfortunately, other small items also go through the screens like bottle caps, food, shredded paper and even diabetic needles! The result is often a highly contaminated glass pile. Contaminated glass loads are rejected by glass processors and are very expensive to clean.
Separation machines are set up at the MRF in a precise order to separate materials by type. Glass is broken and separated by size. It is heavy, so gravity helps sort it out from other materials. However, as we just mentioned other small items also pass through the screens, contaminating the glass. Glass is very abrasive and damages the concrete floors at the MRF during truck tipping and loading onto the conveyor belt with heavy machinery.
Therefore, the preferred sustainable method to recycle glass is to bring it pre-separated to a drop off center and deposit in one of the special yellow dumpsters. Then, your glass can easily be delivered directly to the glass processors with little or no contamination.
Last fiscal year Mecklenburg County collected nearly 180 tons in the yellow dumpsters. Can you help them meet their new goal to collect 300 tons of pre-separated non-contaminated glass in the yellow bins?
NOTE: Please remove caps, corks and lids from your containers and put ONLY glass bottles and jars of all colors in the yellow dumpster marked ONLY glass. NO windows, ceramic dishes, drinking glasses, eyeglasses, aquariums, picture glass etc. Labels can remain on the glass bottles and jars.
Thank you for Recycling Right!
For more information visit: WipeOutWaste.com
Sustain Charlotte is proud to partner with Mecklenburg County Waste Services to educate the public about how to Recycle Right!