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Best Glass Recycling Practices in the Midst of Industry Changes 
With the Fourth of July extended weekend upon us, recyclable materials such as glass, paper and plastic products are likely to increase over the next few days. It’s important to know the best method in which to recycle for your efforts to have the biggest impact.

Press Conference on Recycling at Willow Ave Recycling Center

The City’s Solid Waste Office held a press conference at the Downtown Recycling Center on Willow Avenue to address public inquiries regarding recycling of glass items.

Rachel Butzler, City Solid Waste Manager opened by commending Knoxville residents’ increasing efforts to recycle. She pointed out that the City of Knoxville has been recycling at drop off centers as early as 1991, which had an estimated 14 tons of recycled materials. In 2010, City residents recycled 5,183 tons at drop off recycling centers.

In 2011, the City initiated a pilot curbside recycling program, which has nearly one third of Knoxville homes now recycling and has 1,500 residents on the waiting list to participate in the program. Butzler reported that in 2015 alone, residents recycled 7,588 tons between the drop off centers and curbside recycling efforts.

Lately, the City has received inquiries regarding glass recycling due to a nationwide decline in interest of mixed glass products.

“Honestly, companies that typically purchase recycled materials are no longer interested in mixed glass for various reasons, however, the market for separated glass is much stronger,” said Butzler. “This means separating from other recyclable material like paper and plastic, but also separating glass by color, which is accepted at our five drop off centers in the City and seven in Knox County limits.”

For a map of the City dropoff centers, click HERE.

Butzler said glass separated by color is higher quality than the commingled broken glass pieces resulting from single stream recycling, making the processor more able to find a home for the higher quality glass.

Last year City residents recycled 254 tons of separated glass at the drop off centers, which is roughly 13% of the total volume of recycled materials collected at drop off centers.  

Butzler said the City of Knoxville is working with its waste processing contractor to determine if removing glass from single stream is the best move for the long-term success and viability of the City’s recycling program.
“There is a nationwide move to remove glass from single stream–many other municipalities are discussing it or have already even implemented this change,” said Butzler. “This is a factor we are weighing as we approach renewal of the City’s solid waste contract.”

Butzler also mentioned that the City’s goal is to expand the curbside recycling program so that those on our waiting list can participate.

“We will communicate to the public as we implement any changes to our solid waste program, including changes to recycling.”

For more information on the City’s recycling program, please visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/solidwaste.

Posted by On 01 July, 2016 at 3:45 PM