Gettysburg tackles glass recycling | Columns |

2022-09-17 07:07:30 By : Mr. Ford Jeffrey

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A few clouds from time to time. Low 59F. Winds light and variable.

Recycling glass continues to be troubling for environmentally-concerned citizens locally, nationally and internationally. We are fortunate that at waste hauling contract negotiating time, our Gettysburg Borough manager had the foresight to include glass products in our “required list of recyclable materials.” Our only requirements are that the glass be clean, dry, with lids removed and recycled separately.

According to the American Chemical Society’s publication “Chemical & Engineering News,” Americans dispose of approximately 10 million metric tons of glass annually. Most of it ends up in the trash and only about one-third being recycled. That’s not because of some inseparable materials or chemical properties that make glass difficult to recycle.

“Glass is 100% recyclable,” says Robert Weisenburger Lipetz, executive director of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC), a nonprofit trade association. “It has an unlimited life and can be melted and recycled endlessly to make new glass products with no loss in quality.”

Further, the US’s roughly 33% glass-recycling rate, which pales compared with the 90% recycling rate in Switzerland, Germany and other European countries, is not the result of a lack of technical know-how.

“Recycled glass is nearly always part of the recipe for making new glass,” says Joseph J. Cattaneo, executive director of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), a trade association representing the North American glass container industry. The glass industry regularly mixes cullet—a granular material made by crushing bottles and jars usually collected from recycling programs—with sand, limestone and other raw materials to produce the molten glass needed to manufacture new bottles and jars.

Most of the efforts to boost glass recycling rates in the US have been state and local affairs. For example, 10 states have passed so-called “bottle bills” that require consumers to pay deposits on beverage bottles. The idea is consumers will be more likely to recycle the bottles to get back their deposits. The laws are having the intended effect. In states with those laws, 98% of bottles are recycled, compared with the national average of roughly 33%.

I am pleased to spotlight a local effort to recycle glass. Melissa Brown, Sales and Marketing Manager of Adams County Winery, shared an article in which she reports that its winery is the first winery in Pennsylvania to tackle glass bottle recycling using the Expleco GLS 2.0 bottle crusher. According to Brown, Adams County Winery has worked to find a way to recycle glass as local recycling companies cut way back on the acceptance of glass products. The winery is combating the issue and providing a solution completely in-house.

The Adams County Winery team decided they needed to find a sustainable way to prepare bottles for repurposing on site, so they started researching. The staff was introduced to the Expleco GLS 2.0 bottle crusher from Johnson Recycling Solutions and knew it would be the perfect way to deal with the many empty bottles on hand, considering how challenging it is to find centers that recycle glass now. “Plus, there are so many uses for the crushed bottle sand on-site,” Dan Baumgardner, General Manager at Adams County Winery, is quoted in the article as saying.

I applaud such local efforts that address environmentally-friendly recycling issues.

Judie Butterfield is a borough council member and chairman of the borough Recycling Committee. She can be reached at 717-337-0724 or

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