Glass Recycling is Back in Anchorage

More than 200 ACE members sent emails to the Muni Public Works Office to support glass recycling. Within 5 days, glass was approved as a construction material. Over the next few months ACE continued to work with several organizations and agencies to more the project forward. Photo courtesy of Alaska Center for the Environment.

Glass recycling has finally returned to Anchorage. It starts on Wednesday.

You’ll have to drop it off yourself, but glass recycling is back in Anchorage after a three-year hiatus. Donna Mears is the recycling coordinator at solid waste services with the Municipality of Anchorage. She says there are drop off bins at the Anchorage recycling center ready to take glass from residents.

“The glass from the collection site is going to be going down to Central Recycling Services. They are a construction and demolition recycling company and they will be making that into an aggregate product. There are now specifications in place with the municipality and the state which allow that material to be used as fill and pipe bedding material,” Mears said.

The glass will be used to build roads and in pipe bedding in construction projects. In 2009, the Anchorage business that was recycling glass went under. Two years later, the municipality awarded Central Recycling up to $85 ,000 in grants to figure out how to recycle glass, do research and buy the needed equipment. It took time, but this public-private partnership brought glass recycling back to the city. Mears says glass will not be picked up curbside like other recyclable materials though, for several reasons.

“Glass in the curbside carts easily gets broken and is a safety hazard for workers sorting those materials. The broken glass presents a contamination issue with the papers. I don’t see glass being acceptable with the curbside carts in the foreseeable future,” Mears said.

Mears says one private curbside recycling provider plans to include curbside pickup though.  She notes that residents can save money by recycling glass.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.