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Glass Recycling in Fort Collins

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Residents and businesses in Fort Collins have two options for recycling their glass.

  1. Residents and businesses are welcome to bring their glass to the glass-only bin at the City's Recycling Drop-Off Center at 1702 Riverside Ave. The glass collected in these bins is taken to a plant in Wheat Ridge that makes new glass bottles. Glass- only collection bins are also located at the recycling center co-located at the Larimer County Landfill, as well as multiple locations in Loveland.
  2. Alternatively, you may recycle glass in the curbside single-stream recycling program, mixed with other recyclables. This glass will be taken with the other materials to a sorting facility and will be crushed. The crushed glass will be used as alternative daily cover at the landfill or as drainage aggregate for landfill pipes. (The crushed glass from the sorting facility includes too many rocks, ceramics, and other debris to be recycled into new glass bottles, but is used for the purposes listed above.) Visit the City's Recycling Drop-off Center.

Frequently Asked Questions

Has the glass collected with single-stream recycling always been used for other purposes?

Recovering glass from single-stream recycling and making it into new glass has been a challenge since the onset of single-stream recycling in 2006-07. When single-stream recycling started, around 30% of the glass was being recovered for glass-to-glass recycling. This led to an effort in 2008 to consider other recycling options for glass. See the report generated by this effort and an article written for the public in fall 2008.

The amount of glass from single-stream recycling that is made into new glass has since decreased and all the glass collected from Fort Collin's curbside program is now used as alternative daily cover at the landfill or as drainage aggregate for landfill pipes. City staff continues to be in communication with managers of the recycling plant to explore options for more glass-to-glass recycling from single stream materials.

Will all the other materials in my curbside recycle bin get recycled?

Glass is the only material that is used for a "beneficial secondary use." All the paper, metal, and plastic you place in your curbside recycle bin will be made into new paper, metal and plastic. You can take a virtual tour of the recycling sorting center to learn more about how our recyclables are sorted and sent to market.

Does this mean I should stop placing glass in my curbside bin?

This decision is up to you. If you choose to separate glass and take it to one of the drop-off centers in the area that collect "source separated" glass, you can rest assured that the glass will be melted down and made into new glass bottles. However, placing glass into curbside bins allows for a beneficial, secondary use of the glass to be used as alternative daily cover at the landfill or as a drainage aggregate for pipes at the landfill. Whether you choose to recycle at the drop-off center or curbside, it's better to recycle or reuse glass than to put it in the trash for landfill disposal.

Are there other ways to use recycled glass than to make new bottles?

Yes. Some areas of the country use glass to make road-base or back-fill material for trenches and other engineering applications. The industry calls it a "beneficial secondary use." In Fort Collins, glass collected at the curb that is mixed with other recyclables is crushed and used as alternative daily cover at the landfill or is used as a drainage aggregate for pipes at the landfill.

Can I recycle my windows, drinking glasses, plates, and other "non-container" glass in the glass-only bin?

No. Please only include glass bottles and jars - the items that hold food and beverages that you buy at the grocery store. Durable glass goods, like windows, mirrors, drinking glasses, plates, etc. is made from a different type of glass and is a MAJOR issue for glass recycling. Please do not place these items in your curbside recycle bin or the glass-only bin.

How much glass has the City of Fort Collins been collecting from the glass-only recycling bin at the City's Recycling Drop-off Center?

In 2007, the City collected a total of 32 tons at its Recycling Drop-off Center, 1702 Riverside Dr. By mid-2012, the City collected nearly 250 tons! Glass delivered to the Recycling Drop-off Center is recycled into new glass bottles because it is already sorted and has very little contamination, whereas glass collected in curbside bins gets crushed and has too many rocks, pieces of ceramic, etc. to be made into glass bottles again. Glass collected at the curb is instead used as alternative daily cover at the landfill or is used as a drainage aggregate for pipes at the landfill.

What if I sort out glass and put it in a separate curbside recycling container? Will it be recycled into new glass?

Not at this time. Local trash/recycling haulers will continue collecting glass with the rest of the materials accepted by the curbside recycling program and the glass will be put to use for a beneficial secondary purpose (as trench drainage material, for instance). The City doesn't currently plan to ask haulers to separately collect glass (which would require them to either bring another truck to your home or to set up a second compartment in the existing truck).

Concerned residents may separate their glass and recycle it at Fort Collins Recycling Drop-off Center (1702 Riverside), at the Larimer County recycling center (co-located at the landfill, 5887 S. Taft Hill Road) or one of the City of Loveland glass collection sites, where it will be taken to a facility in Denver that will make it into new glass bottles.

Can I leave my glass in a bag or box when I recycle it at the drop-off center?

Do not place plastic bags or cardboard in the glass recycling container at the City's drop-off and never include plastic bags in your curbside recycling bin. Plastic bags may be taken to one of our many local grocery stores. For more information on cardboard recycling, visit fcgov.com/cardboard. For more information about recycling plastic bags in Fort Collins, visit fcgov.com/plasticbags.

Why don't we have an advanced deposit on glass beverage containers in Colorado? Wouldn't that help us recover more glass to be recycled?

Eleven states already have "bottle bill" systems, where you pay a refundable nickel or dime per bottle at the point of purchase on beverage containers. A number of other states have also been studying this approach. Beverage companies are often opponents to advance disposal/deposit requirements. However, in states that have bottle bills, 85-90% of bottles are recycled. Non-bottle bill states, by comparison, struggle to recover even 50% of their bottles and cans. The clean glass generated by bottle bill states is the major feedstock for local glass-to-glass recycling plants.