Akron launches new citywide glass recycling program
Akron has debuted a new glass recycling program in an effort to improve glass recycling in the city.
Residents will be able to drop off recyclable glass containers — specifically food jars and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage bottles, at five purple recycling bins across the city.
"Just look for the big purple bin," Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. "You can't miss it."
For every ton of glass the city of Akron recycles through the program, more than one ton of raw materials are going to be saved, Strategic Advisor for the Mayor Emily Collins said.
"We know that glass is infinitely recyclable, so we can reproduce that effect over and over and over again," Collins said. "I'm very excited to give Akron that opportunity."
The glass recycling bins will be available at the following locations:
- Diamond Crystal Ballfield - 2175 Edwin Ave.
- Akron Dog Park - 499 Memorial Pkwy.
- Spaghetti Warehouse - 510 S. Main St.
- Goodyear Heights Metro Park - 1950 Eastwood Ave.
- Good Park Golf Course - 530 Nome Ave.
Labels can be left on the containers, but the glass should be cleaned to avoid cross contamination, and any lids or corks should be removed before the glass enters the recycling bin.
Items like windows, mirrors, light bulbs, drinking glasses, solar panels, heat-resistant glass, computer or TV screens, vases and ceramics are not acceptable for glass recycling.
These items have different compositions than that of food and beverage containers which could create problems when the glass is being broken down, Collins said.
"Those are things that will make the process troublesome, and the reason that's the case is that they don't melt under the same temperatures," she said. "So, we need to be fairly restrictive of what we're putting in here."
The glass recycling containers can each hold about seven tons of glass. Residents and business owners are welcome to drop off glass that meets the requirements, but glass should not be left outside of the bin in the event that it is full, according to the program's website.
"We're changing human behavior a little bit on this too. We're asking for a little bit more participation," Mayor Horrigan said. "What we don't want to see are stacks of things stacked outside [of the recycling bin], and people just dropping those things off." is quote here.
The city of Akron discouraged glass recycling in residential bins in 2018 when China began to shut down its imports of glass recyclables. It will now be restricted will now to just the five glass recycling bins, Collins said. Residents should no longer leave glass food and beverage containers in their residential, single-stream recycling containers.
Residents can download the Akron Recycles mobile application for more information on what can and cannot go in their single-stream recycling containers.
The glass recycling pilot program is expected to benefit single stream recycling, Collins said, by reducing cross contamination and increasing the amount of material that ends up being reused and repurposed.
"We end up paying, you know, $80 for the processing of the single stream recycling and then another $80 if it's too contaminated for recycling," she said. "So this is a much better solution for Akron. .... We can all rest easy knowing that it's actually going to be placed with a glass manufacturer."
It's essential the recycling guidelines are followed to ensure to program works long term, Collins said.
"We just need your help making sure these locations are used for their intended purposes," Collins said. "If you see people depositing tires or trash, or anything like that, please call 311 and let us know."
Residents are encouraged to use the program's online Q&A form to ask questions and leave feedback about the recycling program and its requirements.
The recycling bins were donated by O-I, an Ohio-based company that specializes in container glass products. The city partnered with O-I to turn Akron’s used glass containers into new glass bottles, and will work with CAP Glass to transport the recycled glass to the O-I manufacturing facility in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Though it takes a bit of time to manufacture the bins, the city is prepared to add additional glass drop-off locations depending on community need, Collins said.
"As soon as we know how usage is playing out and the need for additional bins, then we can act on that," she said. "That's what we're looking for for during the pilot is just to understand how much we're using the five bins that we've got, whether they're in the right locations and how we can go about the process of placing additional bins if we find that they're needed."