Glass collection for recycling has resumed at the Downtown Birmingham Recycling Center located at 2431 Second Avenue North with Waste Pro, a recycling partner of the Alabama Environmental Council, providing a roll-off container and helping ship the glass to regional markets to be recycled.
“It was very disappointing for us to tell people they couldn’t drop off their glass, but we had to search for another recycling opportunity,” said Michael Churchman, Executive Director of the Alabama Environmental Council. “Since this is one of the only places to recycle glass in our area, we have been working to find another outlet and are extremely pleased that Waste Pro has stepped up to help be a leading recycler in Central Alabama.”
Since glass was excluded from local curbside recycling efforts nearly 10 years ago, the Alabama Environmental Council has been accepting glass at its Recycling Center for reuse in cement manufacturing. Argos, previously LaFarge, has been paying for hauling the glass to their plant in Calera where it is stored and pulverized before being added to their cement mix. Unfortunately, in late spring 2013, Argos had to stop accepting glass from AEC until the end of the year, when they hope to be able to accept glass again.
In the meantime, AEC had been searching for other outlets. When they first learned of a temporary shutdown, they continued collecting glass, intending it to go to Argos when they began again. When that didn’t happen, Vulcan Materials Company helped AEC with a temporary process of transferring the glass from roll-off dumpsters to tractor-trailers that could be shipped to markets in Georgia and Tennessee. This was a temporary stop-gap until a better plan was found.
“We’re happy to be able to help find solutions for recycling in the Birmingham Metro,” said George Nicholson, from Waste Pro. “We have equipment and regional partners that can accept glass, so we reached out and developed a plan with AEC to be able to begin recycling glass again.” Nicholson said the glass would either go to Georgia or other markets around the Southeast.
Long-term, the AEC and Waste Pro have plans to begin processing the glass to pulverize it and get it into a form that is marketable to local and regional industries. Many manufacturing processes could use the glass as cullet or aggregates in their facilities and this could be a sustainable product that could save resources.
The Recycling Center is located at 2431 Second Avenue North in downtown Birmingham. Find more information about the Alabama Environmental Council at www.AEConline.org.