Recycling may seem like a waste of time to certain people, but it certainly has some benefits if you bother to take the time. Aluminum is the best thing to recycle if you’re simply looking to get the most out of a trip to a recycling center. Glass containers under 24 ounces are worth 5 cents each, and containers that are 24 ounces or more can get you 10 cents. So take a look at your bottles and see if they have a CRV, or California Redemption Value, because most of them will. Once you get a decent amount saved up, toss them in your car and hustle on over to a glass recycling center near you. Use the map below to find your nearest glass recycle facility.
Glass Recycle Center Locator
California Redemption Value is paid on the following types of beverages: Coffee, tea, soft drinks, sports drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated water, and beer. Separating your glass bottles by color is a good habit to get into, as well. It helps to reduce the cost and energy needed for recycling. It also helps to speed up the process that turns old bottles and jars into new ones. It also has the highest value of all curbside glass, and can be sold to manufacturers for immediate recycling. So, remember to separate them before taking them to a local recycle facility for money.
Local Glass Recycling Locations
Aside from the money you can get for recycling glass there are several other reasons to recycle glass bottles. For example, recycling just one glass bottle saves enough energy to power your computer for a half hour, or keep a light bulb lit for 4 hours. It also helps to conserve natural resources; for every ton of glass recycled, a ton of these resources are saved. It helps to reduce carbon dioxide, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. It saves a lot of energy, too. It is said that the cost for energy drops by 2-3% for every 10% recycled glass containers used in the manufacturing process.
While there are quite a few glass recycling centers in your area, make sure to check the hours of operation for these places. Come prepared to spend a little time there, as there will most likely be a line of people in front of you when you arrive. Those that get there before you could have been collecting for months and months and can take quite a while to go through their collections. Try to get to your location on the earlier side and you should be just fine.
Clean Glass Before Recycling
It’s always a good idea to have cleaned, wiped or rinsed out your glass containers. Obviously, you don’t need to waste a bunch of water on this process; the last thing we need is water waste to recycle glass. Even considering water usage to clean your glass bottles, it’s certainly less than the water it would take to produce virgin glass. Common sense when washing is your best weapon. So, before you go toss out all those bottles from your last football party, or backyard BBQ, just grab a large bag or bin, and start collecting. Once you get a decent amount, take it on down to the nearest glass recycling center near you.
Not All Glass is Recyclable
Before running down to the closest recycling center or dumping all your glass items in the curbside bin it is important to know which glass items can and cannot be recycled.
Glass Items That Cannot Be Recycled
- Cookware such as Pyrex, Corning, and other brands are not recyclable. This is because these items have been treated to withstand extreme heat and cannot be processed with ordinary food and beverage glassware.
- Windshields and safety glass have been treated with special coating so they do not shatter. When mixed in with other glass this can ruin the batch of new containers.
- Light bulbs have many different elements other than glass and cannot be recycled with regular food and drink bottles.
- Mirrors are not accepted at most facilities because they have a special coating that makes the glass reflective.
If you are ever in doubt, the best course of action is to contact your local recycling center or county recycling service and ask if your items can be recycled or disposed of in the normal waste bin.
- Labels on jars and bottles do not have to be removed. These will burn off during the recycling process. So if you were avoiding recycling because you didn’t want to peel off the old labels, it’s ok, go ahead and toss them in the recycle bin.
- If you can, please remove bottle caps, but this step is not mandatory.
- Food, wax, and other non-toxic particles do not have to be rinsed prior to recycling glass, although it will not hurt either.
- Wine bottles can absolutely be recycled. If there is a cork left in the bottle that is fine as well.
How Is Glass Recycled?
Many consumers of glass products place their empty glass bottles in curbside pick-up containers or take them to local recycling facilities and never think about what happens beyond that. There are many steps that occur after glass is dropped off/picked up and before it makes it’s way back onto shelves for consumption. Here is a brief overview of the recycling process that shows the infinite loop of glass recycling.
- Recyclables are placed in curbside bins, business recycling containers, and/or brought to a local recycling drop-off redemption center.
- Recyclables are collected.
- Recyclables are delivered to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). A material recovery facility is a specialized plant that receives, separates and prepares recyclable materials for manufacturers.
- Recyclables are separated by material types.
- Glass from the MRF and drop-of locations is sent to a glass processing company.
- Glass is separated from trash and other contaminants, then sorted by color. This step is often done at the local drop-off facilities.
- Recycled glass is sold to glass container manufacturers and made into new bottles and jars. The glass is smashed into cullet and then mixed with new raw materials and heated until the glass has liquefied and then poured to make new bottles and other glass items.
- Consumers purchase food and beverages in glass packaging.