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Glass Recycling in Denver: Keeping it Local

Ever wonder what becomes of your glass bottles and jars recycled through Denver’s recycling program? Denver Recycles is pleased to report that most (85%) of the glass bottles and jars recycled in Denver’s purple carts are turned into new glass bottles right here in Colorado. Denver Recycles like to call this bottle-to-bottle recycling, where a waste product can be turned back into its original form again (and again) through the recycling process. The other fifteen percent of glass collected in purple carts that is broken into pieces too small to be recycled into bottles is put to good use in other ways, such as being recycled into products like sandblasting abrasives and swimming pool filter media.

The Local Path of Your Glass:
By the time a glass container is put into a purple cart, emptied into a recycling truck, transported around town, dumped onto a tipping floor and then sorted from the other materials, it’s typically broken into small pieces. This can represent a significant challenge to recyclers, since the small, broken pieces of glass find themselves mixed in with other small pieces of materials.

Thanks to a new, state-of-the-art waste glass processing plant opened by Momentum Recycling in 2017, Denver’s glass can now be more easily recycled into new bottles. With the help of advanced cleaning and sorting technology, Momentum Recycling can remove all non-glass impurities, and then sort the glass pieces by size and color to prepare glass pellets, (also known as glass cullet) for local bottle manufacturers here in Colorado.

While Denverite’s don’t generate enough glass to meet the needs of the local bottle manufacturers (who produce over two billion bottles per year in Colorado!), the local supply of clean, recycled glass cullet does significantly reduce the environmental impact of bottle manufacturing by reducing the need for virgin materials and reducing the energy required for the manufacturing process.

Denver Recycles will take all the glass they can get! Below are some quick reminders for properly recycling glass in Denver’s purple carts.

  • Denver Recycles accepts glass bottles and jars for recycling. No other glass is accepted in purple carts. Never put glassware, cookware, ceramics or window glass in your purple cart. These are considered impurities in the glass recycling process and are costly to remove.
  • Remove caps and lids. Denver Recycles does not accept metal bottle caps. However, large metal jar lids are accepted if they are removed from jars prior to recycling.
  • Check Denver Recycles’ Recycling Directory for how to recycle your discarded window glass. Again, Denver Recycles does not accept window glass for recycling in purple carts, but alternative recycling options for this item and 100s of other items are listed in the Recycling Directory.

For more information about Denver’s recycling guidelines, the Recycling Directory, and all other programs and services offered by Denver Recycles, click here or call 311 (720-913-1311).