Giant mounds of glass bottles are building up at Western landfills, where cities and counties are stockpiling them until they can find someone willing to recycle them.
Even though glass should be the ideal recyclable — you can melt it down and reuse it an infinite number of times without affecting the quality of the glass — the market for used bottles is tough, in part because the raw material needed to make new glass, sand, is dirt cheap.
CHEYENNE, Wyo, — After working out at a gym, Amy Mahaffy dropped off a half-dozen glass jars in a city recycling container before heading home.The containers however won’t end up being recycled any time soon. Their destination: A mound of glass at the city landfill, an ever-growing monument to the difficulty many communities across the country face in finding a market for a commodity that’s too cheap for its own good.
”We are stockpiling it in a desperate search for a market,” landfill foreman Monty Landers said.
Cheyenne hasn’t recycled the glass it collects — 9 tons a week — for years. Instead, the city has been putting it in the landfill, using it to surround the concrete-walled wells that pump toxic fluids out of the dump.
The same is happening with glass bottles at sites in New Mexico, Oregon and Idaho. Read the full story by the Associated Press, or keep reading to learn more about the challenges of selling Boulder County’s recycling. Read more