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Glass Recycling in Missoula

 
Derek Kanwischer
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I talked to someone from MontPirg last week on the UM campus and they are gathering signatures to support a campaign to develop a glass recycling center here in Missoula. Does anybody know anything about this or have any thoughts about glass recycling in Missoula?
 
Emma Olson
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I think it's a great idea if they have an idea of an environmentally friendly and cost efficient way of processing them. Also if it would be possible to add signatures online and a link in this thread that would be an easy way to get more support.
 
Derek Kanwischer
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From what I hear around campus, there are a couple groups working on this including UM CAN and MT PIRG.  They plan on building some momentum up when the spring semester kicks off late January. I think it is possible to have glass recycling that is economically and environmentally beneficial, but the infrastructure would have to be highly localized in order to make it work. Environmentally, it could be argued that any energy used to transport, collect, and pulverize the glass into cullet requires more energy than it takes to simply collect the glass and dump it in the landfill. Since it is an inert substance, it does not pollute the environment as it breaks down in the landfill.
 
Derek Kanwischer
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One alternative to the glass problem here in Missoula would be to move to reusable bottles or move away from glass altogether. The growler is great. You might notice that the thick glass of the growler is what makes it reusable and this type of glass is not seen in conventional beer bottles. I've heard that there are 2-3 major companies in the country that produce most of the beer bottles for bottling all brews that are marketed and sold. That sounds kind of unbelievable, so it might not be correct, but the glass is thin enough that it chips and enables bacteria growth possible, thus dissuading breweries from even attempting to wash and sanitize returned bottles. (I've heard that somebody may be doing this and perhaps someone can enlighten us if they know)  The alternative aluminum cans now used by big sky and kettlehouse may not be a better option. I can only speculate the that the materials (bauxite and others) are strip mined to produce this aluminum that is recyclable, but often down-cycled rather than used to make aluminum cans yet again. Does anybody know the impact of the place that is being mined for this material?  Just a few thoughts on a complex issue.
 
eliza mahoney
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I heard a while ago that Bayern has actually begun reusing and recycling their own bottles, so I looked it up and it's true!  Here's their "Special Recycling Edition" newsletter: http://www.bayernbrewery.com/bayern_brewsletter02_10.pdf

I agree, moving towards reusing rather than recycling is the best possible way to conserve resources.  Also, considering the cost of infrastructure for a glass recycling facility it might be more likely to get businesses/local gov to be interested in reusing because, well, it'd be cheap.

SO, growlers for local beer are great, wonderful!  Let's keep encouraging people to use those and to return their bottles to Bayern.  But there are obviously many other products that are packaged in glass, like the individual soda, juice, etc you can buy at the grocery store.  What I'm wondering is how we can reuse the glass that we can't prevent people from buying.  I remember a couple years ago Missoula Federal Credit Union used crushed glass in their parking lot?  Maybe we could convince local or state gov to try to find uses for it in their construction projects like MFCU did?  Or have a storage facility where construction companies could buy it at super-cheap prices?  Just brainstorming ideas.
 
                              
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Every Target is now accepting glass (as well as other recyclables). I guess they have some bins out in front and request that you rinse the bottles out first, but ask you to set up a drop off with them if you have a significant amount of glass.

http://pressroom.target.com/pr/news/target-launches-recycling-stations.aspx
 
                                        
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www.gardencityrecycling.com

  We're a small curbside recycling business in Missoula.  Just found this forum, and saw this topic.  I'm currently working on this very problem...basically trying to find a piece of land to put a pulverizer on.  I've been talking with the University some - because of their sustainability pledge they are interested in using cullet to sand the streets with on campus, possibly add to their construction as well.  I am going to approach them about letting us use some land (I hope) to put the pulverizer on.  It's not a "go" yet, but it's a work on progress.  Hoping to have it going this year, though.
 
paul wheaton
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Hi Paul,

  We are a curbside recycling service, so we come to you.  If you're interested, please see our website at www.gardencityrecycling.com.  A drop-off point is something we are looking into, but a glass pulverizing site is our priority as there are no glass recyclers in Missoula currently.

Thank you for you interest.

 
                                                
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Missoula Valley Recycling has experience with glass recycling, having been part of three glass recycling programs within the last 12 years. Reciently the owner of MVR has purchased a warehouse and lot where they park their trucks and trailers. This property is on a rail link, and Tom is currently collaborating with Owens Corning, and other companies, including Montana Rail Link, to explore the possibilities of shipping glass by rail.

Working in the Recycling business, we always hear about the need for glass recycling from the community. This is valid because people want to recycle everything. However the recycling rate in Missoula Montana is very low to begin with. The Greenhouse Gas Commission survey determined the recycling rate to be 11% in the garden city. Now if we worked as hard to double that rate as we work to "solve the glass problem", we could keep VALUABLE RECYCLABLES (metal, paper, plastics) out of the landfill and into new products. That's why MVR started the Recycling In The Schools (RITS) program after the last glass recycling program failed to work. The real "problem" is so few people recycle at all because they just don't get it.



 
                                        
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Hi MRV - sounds exciting!  (the warehouse, shipping glass by rail...).

  Have you guys looking into doing something with the glass locally?  Shipping it out is one option - just like Target is doing on a small scale.  It makes a lot more sense, I think, do solve this problem locally and find a use for it here in Missoula.  Thoughts?  We're working on a business model currently to get a pulverizer here where the glass can be used various ways - construction, road sanding, pipe bedding, etc.  I'm not sure if Tom would be interested, but we'd love to talk about a partnership of some sort, assuming we can figure out a market for the cullet, where we can reduce the overall footprint of recycling glass by not shipping it out of here. 

  If you'd like to continue this conversation in a more private way, email us at: gardencityrecycling@gmail.com
 
                                                
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There have been two programs in the last ten years that attemped to use glass locally.
MVR ran a program over 10 years ago that shipped glass cullet to Denver, with the help of BFI- now Allied waste. That program ended when Allied moved from Toole St. to the present location. The next program, sponsored by the city attempted to use glass in roads in Missoula. A good idea, but JTL didn't like it, the city stopped the program when the city engineer gave it up too, and a mountain of glass, collected for two years, went to the landfill. MVR started a program two years later. We partnered with Ozzies Oil. We charged 5 cents a pound to process it, but that didn't pay the costs of grinding it into sand. That pile got too large, and Ozzies could'nt afford the cost, and couldnt find markets for the product, which cost 150 to make, but was worth the price of sand- about 15 dollars a ton. Oh well.

I think if we could use it locally, great. But to take care of the demand to recycle glass, local  is not enough, so perhaps a program that did both would be sustainable. I dont want to start a program unless it make sence for the environment (saving energy), and is sustainable. That means we have to have an outlet for supply, and we have to have it paid for on the front end by the consumer who choose to take on the cost of recycling. Ownes Corning told me that they want to increase the amount of recycled glass  in bottles, os thats good for demand.
 
                                        
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So...if I am reading you correctly, the pulverized glass cost $150/ton to produce?  If it's that expensive, then perhaps the better approach would be to encourage people to NOT buy products in glass.  I think the majority of what people purchase in glass anymore is either beer or wine anyhow, with some exceptions.  Luckily, good beer and wine IS available in locally recyclable packaging. 

Thanks for the great info, MVR.  Sounds like you've done your homework.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Just found this NBC News article on glass recycling at Target. If the bins are too full of non-recyclable gunk, the the bottles go to the landfill.

Take away being if you want recycling, do it right. No lids, no dirty bottles (clean or rinse them!), no bags, no boxes.
 
K Bassett
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Yea, I bring our glass to Target and hit up Pacific recycling right near by to drop off cans, cardboard etc. Every time I go there, there's loads of other, non-glass things... lids, plastic, newspaper, trash, etc. Too bad. It's a bummer people don't know how to recycle properly... But last time I was there, Target didn't really have anything put up to inform people of how to properly recycle.

We moved away from buying glass for the most part, except for the very occasional 6 pack. Now we pretty much exclusively use growlers. The plastic Nalgene growlers are BPA free, really light, and obviously don't break. They also seem to keep beer from going flat for longer (not usually a problem though!). I really like them, and they're perfect for floating, fishing, hiking, etc. because, obviously, no glass.

I think if Missoula moved away from glass altogether that would be awesome, but in the meantime, turning it into something is better than nothing.
 
K Nelfson
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Curbside pickup fuel can offset the embodied energy in the glass. So the net effect may not be as positive as expected.

Recycling glass at a store where you are already going anyway is probably the best possible method of recycling.
 
Dale Hodgins
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All of the potential uses for pulverized glass that I have seen, have been worse than just dumping the stuff. Finely pulverized glass is a hazardous material. It blows in the wind, destroys work boots and gloves and can damage lungs.

Glass broken into larger, gravel like chunks is safe to use in concrete. Around here, it costs about $15 per ton to run it through a jaw crusher.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Using glass in concrete sounds like a good way to go.

One of our folks saw a sign in Target saying they are going to stop offering the glass recycling. Anyone have any updates or know any more?

Are any other places in Missoula recycling glass?

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Target is no longer recycling glass. Anyone know if any other place in Missoula decided to take it on?

 
Jesse Fister
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Jocelyn, have you seen this?

http://www.ierecycling.net/
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Jesse Fister wrote:Jocelyn, have you seen this?

http://www.ierecycling.net/


I had not. That is very cool! I'm looking forward to where they'll be in January. From their site:

GLASS DROP OFF & Collection
ALL GLASS must be CLEAN
NO LIMES
Please Remove Paper, Lids, Plastic, or Metal
Bottles and Jars only!

Drop off  processing fee: $1 per 10lbs without labels 
$2 per 10lbs with labels after August

Purchase a $9 punch card and get 100lbs of glass drop off!

LOCATIONS AND TIMES:

Coming Back January 2017!
 
Casie Becker
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I'd like the glass aggregate to make paths with, myself. There used to be a source for it in Austin, but I haven't found it.

I notice they also ask for several companies bottles by the case. Are they sending them back to be reused by the original producers? I think that's at least another level up from recycling the glass.
 
Jesse Fister
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Casie Becker wrote:I'd like the glass aggregate to make paths with, myself. There used to be a source for it in Austin, but I haven't found it.


We might consider that ourselves.  I was looking this up today to get cheap grit for my chickens, as Paul mentioned in a podcast once!
 
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