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Glass Recycling in Fort Collins
Residents and businesses in Fort Collins have several ways to recycle their glass, including some new options!
- You may recycle glass bottles and jars in your household or business’ curbside single-stream recycling program, mixed with your other recyclables. These materials go to a sorting facility in Denver. The separated glass from that facility is taken to a brand-new processing plant in Broomfield called Momentum Glass. Momentum Glass has increased Colorado’s ability to deliver clean, sorted glass to our state’s bottle-manufacturers, and has expanded into new markets such as the abrasives industry (think sand-blasting).
- Residents and businesses are welcome to bring their glass bottles and jars to the glass-only bin at the City's Timberline Recycling Center at 1903 S. Timberline Rd. The glass collected in these bins is taken directly to a plant in Wheat Ridge that makes new glass bottles. Glass-only collection bins are also located at Larimer County Recycling Center co-located at the Larimer County Landfill, and at several glass drop-off sites offered by the City of Loveland.
- A company called Clear Intentions has established a number of glass-only recycling “stations” throughout Fort Collins that can be easily accessed by citizens at the following locations. Glass collected by Clear Intentions is used for manufacturing new glass bottles, terrazzo, and for fiberglass insulation. In addition to bottles and jars, Clear Intention is also able to accept drinking glasses at its recycling stations.
- Window glass, a traditionally hard-to-recycle material in Colorado, is also now being accepted by Momentum Glass in Broomfield.
Frequently Asked Questions
- In the past, wasn’t glass collected with single-stream recycling used for other purposes besides making new bottles?
Recovering glass from single-stream recycling and making it into new glass was a challenge after the introduction of “single-stream recycling” in 2006; for a long time, only 30% of the glass was being recovered for glass-to-glass recycling while the rest went to “beneficial secondary” use as drainage material or alternative-daily-cover at landfills. In other words, for many years, glass was not being remanufactured into new bottles. However, due to the construction of Momentum Glass’ processing plant in Broomfield in 2016, glass from single-stream recycling programs throughout Colorado is now largely being recovered and sufficiently “cleaned up” to meet bottle manufacturers’ specifications.
- Will all the other materials in my curbside recycle bin get recycled?
As long as preparation guidelines are followed, the glass bottles/jars, paper, metal, and plastic you place in your curbside recycle bin will be made into new bottles, goods or packaging. Take a virtual tour of the recycling sorting center in Denver, to learn more about how our recyclables are sorted and sent to market.
- Should we stop placing glass in our curbside bins?
This decision is up to you. You can choose to separate glass and take it to one of the drop-off centers in the area that collects only glass and rest assured that the glass will become new glass bottles. However, the opening of Momentum Glass in Broomfield has greatly increased the quantity of glass from single-stream curbside recycle bins that will become new bottles. (What may be a bit confusing is that some trash/recycling haulers specifically ask their customers to take bottles and jars to be recycled at local drop-off centers instead of using the curbside recycling program, in order to control their costs.) Whichever option you choose, it's better to recycle or reuse glass than to put it in the trash, for landfill disposal!
- Where can I recycle my windows, drinking glasses, plates, and other "non-container" glass in Fort Collins?
Clear Intentions LLC has created a unique opportunity in Fort Collins to recycle the type of glass used to make drinking glasses. Clear Intentions has placed 10 glass-only recycling “stations” throughout the community at the following locations. You can bring items such as broken wine glasses along with bottles/jars to their stations. However, please do not place any type of glass in the curbside recycling bins or community-sponsored recycling drop-off centers except glass bottles and jars. In another new development in the Colorado recycling industry, a company called Momentum Glass in Broomfield has begun accepting deliveries of window glass.
- 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. 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.
- 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 any of the drop-off stations or recycling centers – the cleaner and purer the glass is, the better! The City urges citizens to remember that plastic bags, in particular, should never be commingled with other types of recyclables because processing plants can’t keep it from tangling up the sorting equipment! Please take plastic bags to one of our many local grocery stores or retailers that accept them to be recycled, or bring them to the pilot program at the Timberline Recycling Center, which accepts a variety of plastic film materials as long as they are clean and dry.
- 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.