The community recycling center at the Lookout Mountain, Tenn., maintenance barn no longer accepts any glass. It ran into the same problem that the city of Chattanooga’s curbside recycling encountered. The city stopped accepting glass in its curbside recycling service in January because the crushed glass is difficult to sort from paper and plastic, and the “contaminated” refuse ends up in a landfill.
When I go to our recycling dumpster, I notice how much glass is collected in it. My biggest fear is that residents will continue to put our glass in there, which will cause the entire dumpster to be tossed as garbage. I’m also concerned that we will say, “It is too much trouble to take empty bottles and jars to the City of Chattanooga Recycle Center on Cummings Highway,” and, instead, just throw them in the garbage. To be honest, I am tempted to toss these items also, but surely I’m not that lazy!
After researching this issue further, I am amazed at what good recycled glass does. Recycled glass is used to make new glass containers, which can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality and purity, something few food and beverage packaging options can claim. Recycled glass can also be used to make kitchen tiles, countertops and wall insulation, for example. The amount of energy needed to melt recycled glass is considerably less than that needed to melt raw materials to make new bottles and jars. Recycling just one bottle can save enough energy to power a television for an hour and a half. Taking your glass to a recycle center saves a substantial amount of carbon dioxide emissions and extends the life of our increasingly scarce landfill sites. For every ton of glass recycled, another ton of natural resources is saved.
There are five different recycling centers around the city that will take glass to recycle: 5955 Brainerd Rd., 1250 E. 3rd St., 3189 Cummings Hwy., 8004 Batters Place Rd. and 4504 N. Access Rd. Maybe you can take turns with a friend or neighbor and take the glass every week or two. Remember recycling is not for us; it’s for our future!
For more information, go to the City of Chattanooga's website, or call (423) 425-6311.