Too much plastic mixed in with glass can lead to recycling plants rejecting the glass.

The load of glass intended for recycling Republic Services hauled to Springfield’s glass drop-off site Tuesday, Oct. 15, was rejected due to its high plastic bag contamination. Meaning, all of the glass local recyclers collected and delivered to our city recycling center to fill the dumpster ended up in the landfill.

Plastic bags are forbidden in recycling dumpsters everywhere. Typically made from polyethylene, single-use plastic shopping bags are extremely difficult to recycle, and the material cannot be mixed with other recyclable materials such as glass.

Recycling contamination is a serious problem. Do not bag recyclables. Collect and deliver recyclables to the city recycling dumpsters in a sturdy box, bucket, or other reusable container. Dump the loose contents in the appropriate dumpster and reuse the container.

Republic Services advise, “Keep it clean and loose. Do not bag your recyclables. Recyclable items should be empty, dry and have no food remnants. Always rinse your recyclable items and allow them to dry before placing in the recycling dumpster.”

Glass collected at Springfield’s glass drop-off site is reloaded and hauled to Ripple Glass in Kansas City, where it is sorted by color, crushed, cleaned and turned into glass cullet, ready to be made into new bottles or fiberglass insulation. Ripple accepts all glass food and beverage containers of any color, including mason jars and glass drinking vessels such as wine glasses.

The founder of Ripple Glass, Boulevard Brewing Co., needs amber-colored cullet to make their bottles, so at the Ripple Glass collection plant in Kansas City, they separate amber glass from other colors. They ship the amber furnace ready cullet to plants making amber-colored bottles. They ship all other colored cullet to a local fiberglass manufacturer in Kansas City.

Glass manufacturers need clean glass cullet. Recycling contamination is a serious problem with easy solutions. Never deposit bagged items in a recycling dumpster. Never deposit Pyrex, Corning ware, ceramics, dishware or ham sandwiches in a Ripple glass recycling dumpster.

Marcum authors the annual Guide to Recycling in Stockton, published by the United Methodist Go Green Team and United Methodist Women.

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