Glass is no longer welcome in recycling containers.
Beginning this week, crews with the city's Street and Sanitation Department will no longer pick up recycling containers if they find discarded glass items in them — things like jars, wine bottles, etc.
The reason, according Street and Sanitation Department superintendent Bryce Anderson, is that Republic Services, 2706 N. Second St., where the city takes its trash, is no longer accepting it either.
“We've tried to get the word out by (distributing) an instruction sheet along the route,” he said. “And (the new rule) is posted on the city's website, too.”
Kenny DePasse, who handles governmental affairs for Republic, said the recycling market has for the last several years struggled to know what to do with discarded glass.
“We can't get rid of it,” he said. “Because no one wants to buy it. It's really a global issue right now.”
According to Freedonia Focus Reports, an organization that conducts industry market research, the widespread adoption of single-stream collection — or putting everything from paper and cardboard together with plastic and glass into one container — hasn't been good for the recycled glass market. While single-stream helps to increase participation in curbside programs, it also reduces the quality of recovered glass due to breaking and contamination with other materials.
DePasse said several paper mills — once a huge consumer of discarded glass — no longer accepts it. Manufacturers of home insulation, too, are using less recycled glass.
As a result, nearly half of all collected glass ends up in landfills anyway, DePasse said.
For this reason, many major trash collection companies and municipalities alike have decided to exclude glass from their curbside recycling programs.
So what do you do with it?
Anderson said glass can be thrown into the trash, but several glass bottles — specifically wine bottles and jars — offer all kinds of DIY opportunities.
A quick visit to Pinterest results in hundreds — perhaps thousands — of crafty ways to repurpose wine bottles and glass jars.
Ideas range from something as simple as using glass jars to collect loose change to decorative containers for homemade candles. There's even wine bottle trees, DIY wind chimes, light fixtures and even bird feeders.
Brandee Murphy Reed, for one, never met a DIY project she wasn't eager to try, and glass bottles and jars, she said, are ripe with opportunity.
“I've done a lot of mason jars,” she said. “All you have to do is paint them, put flowers in them. You can paint letters on them or decorate them for holidays and seasons. And it's all really easy. I just did 24 big mason jars and 12 small ones as centerpieces for a graduation open house.