In recent years, many western Pennsylvania municipalities have stopped collecting glass recyclables at the curb. In an attempt to recover some of those materials, the Pennsylvania Resources Council has hosted a number of pop-up collection sites and launched a traveling recycling bin last year to reach even more communities.
Now the group is partnering with several South Hills municipalities to open a permanent collection location in Bethel Park. Glass jars, bottles, and jugs can be dropped off at a bin near the Fine Wine & Good Spirits store at the Village Square Mall beginning Tuesday. The bin is accessible 24/7.
The Glass Recycling Collaborative of Southwestern PA is a new partnership between Bethel Park, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and the Pennsylvania Resources Council. It’s the first partnership of its kind in the area.
According to Sarah Alessio Shea, deputy director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, the collaborative wants to build on the success of the pop-up events by getting more people to recycle their glass. One way to do that is to make the process more convenient, according to Shea.
“If you can get this to be part of somebody’s routine… it’s much more likely that we’re going to be able to capture more of the glass from the waste stream,” she said.
Curbside pickup is convenient for the consumer, but Shea points out that collecting glass at drop-off sites is actually easier and cheaper for recovery facilities to process. The group plans to launch 10 total drop-off sites in Allegheny County thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The grant will support the purchase of the bin, and the four municipalities will share the costs of hauling the materials. Michael Brothers Hauling & Recycling will bring the glass collected to CAP Glass in Westmoreland County for recovery.
Shea said the group’s goal is to have locations across all of Allegheny County so that no matter where you live, a site is nearby.
Similar drop-off sites have led to an increased amount of glass recycled in communities across the country. There are nearly 100 glass recycling bins throughout Kansas City, Missouri, owned by Ripple Glass. The bins have helped bring the glass recycling rate in the city from 4% to 20%.
Glass is a 100% recyclable material that uses 70% less energy than raw materials. Glass material can also be back on the shelf after use very quickly.
“Within 30 days of putting it in a bin, it’s possible that the glass bottle is back as part of another product somewhere else,” Shea said.
The drop-off sites will accept any color of glass bottles, jugs and jars. Residents may leave on labels and lids but must rinse food waste from the containers. Pyrex and windowpane glass will not be accepted.
The two locations opening this month are:
- Village Square Mall: March 1
- 5000 Oxford Drive, Bethel Park, Pa 15102
- Located in the upper-level lot near the Fine Wine & Good Spirits
- Self-service drop off available 24/7
- Moon Township Public Works garage: March 7
- 1115 Stevenson Mill Road, Moon Township, Pa 15108
- Drop off available weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
More information is available here.