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Glass recycling facts

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Learn more about the difficult decision to no longer accept glass as a recyclable item.

Here's why glass goes in the trash. 

Marion County Solid Waste has been proud to accept glass bottles and jars among our long list of items for recycling. However – beginning Jan. 3, 2018 – Marion County Solid Waste recycling centers will no longer accept glass bottles and jars as recyclable items. To provide you with many reasons why this difficult decision has been made, we have created this fact sheet – including research compiled by the National Waste & Recycling Association. We encourage you to change your recycling habits and either find alternatives to glass bottles and jars when shopping or get into the habit of putting your glass in with your trash.

Some little-known facts about glass:

  • Glass bottles and jars are non-toxic products – Glass is made from sand, limestone and soda ash. When glass goes into a landfill, it is not harming the environment or atmosphere. 
  • Not all glass is recyclable – Many glass bottle manufacturers that use recycled glass to make new bottles can only use certain types of glass. Drinking glasses, ceramic plates, pottery, windowpane glass, mirrors, fluorescent light bulbs and more are not accepted. Many of these materials are being placed in the glass recycling bins. The impact is that good glass cannot be separated and all the glass ends up in a landfill.
  • Glass must be sorted by color – Most glass manufacturers require that glass be sorted by color. They want clean streams of just clear glass, brown glass or green glass. Many recyclers are mixing the colors. The impact is the good glass cannot be separated and all the glass ends up in a landfill.
  • Glass is heavy – Glass bottles and jars far outweigh containers made of plastic, metal or paper. The limited number of glass processing facilities, their geographic distance from collection sites and transportation costs make glass recycling too costly financially and environmentally.
  • Keep glass out of your curbside bins – Many cities and counties in and around the nation have already stopped collecting glass at the curb. A local major recycling processor has notified its suppliers that mixed glass is no longer an acceptable recycling material and has given notice that it will no longer accept glass at its facility. Even if your recycling company still allows glass in your curbside bin, you should still consider keeping it out. Putting glass in your curbside bin results in broken mixed glass. The broken glass mixes with paper and plastics, contaminating these good recyclables and the sorting process, as well. Most recycling processing facilities are sending the broken mixed glass to a landfill because there is no manufacturer that needs or wants this glass.

We encourage you to change your glass recycling habits. Reuse your glass bottles and jars or put them in with your trash. When shopping, purchase your favorite products in packaging other than glass. By keeping glass out of the recycling stream, you are improving the recycling process so that more good recyclables – paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and plastic bottles – can be recovered for manufacturers who need and want these materials. Although it is difficult to say goodbye to recycling glass, it will help ensure a clean recycling stream, and keep central Florida’s manufacturing sector and economy strong.