By Allison Majerus

Recycling glass is not an option in every community in Nebraska. Program Director Allison Majerus is currently researching glass recycling in our state and what we can do to increase access to glass recycling in the future. Although glass is heavy and expensive to transport, glass bottles and jars are 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly. Glass is made from materials such as sand, soda ash, limestone, and cullet, which is furnace-ready recycled glass.

 

The vast majority of glass collected for recycling in Nebraska is transported to either Kansas City, Missouri or Denver, Colorado. Glass is currently being collected for recycling in the following Nebraska communities: ColumbusGenevaLincolnOmahaNelighValentineFremontWayneKearney, Benkleman, Hershey, Alliance, Dunning, Thedford, Ogallala, Ponca, Ravenna, Stuart, and Kimball. In addition, the community of Tekamah collects glass in their city drop off location, grinds it for different local uses and it is available free to the community.

Two examples of communities that collect glass for recycling are Omaha and Geneva, both of whom received a recycling equipment grant award to assist in the purchase of their equipment.

Image of 3 sided concrete bunker with pile of glass in the middle

To learn about glass recycling in our region and country, Allison visited the Schupan glass material recovery facility in Des Moines, IA and met virtually with Glass to Glass in Denver, CO, Ripple Glass in Kansas City, MO, and a representative from the national organization Glass Recycling Foundation. NRC is pursuing conversations with glass users, such as the wine and beer industry, food co-packing industry, and insulation manufacturing, as well as neighboring states to compare notes on how they recycle glass.

We aim to learn how to attract relevant end market businesses to Nebraska so we can keep glass here, lower the cost to collect, transport and recycle it, so we can maximize the economic and environmental benefit of glass recovery. End market businesses could include glass bottles and jars, fiberglass insulation, cullet, and pozzolan (used in the production of cement).

 

If your community is interested in learning how to bring glass recycling to your location, please reach out to Allison Majerus at [email protected]. Please also contact Allison if your community does recycle glass and it was not mentioned above. NRC plans to release a Nebraska glass recycling report later this spring, and we want to be accurate in our data reports.

in the foreground two hands cup a handful of pebble sized glass pieces against a background of glass