Master Recyclers learned during the course that it has been challenging in our region to ensure the best use of glass for recycling. While 84% of bottle bill and curbside recycling goes to fiberglass or back into glass, about of a third of curbside glass is used as a substitute for aggregate in landfill drainage layers or landfill roadbeds.
The recycling of discarded glass into bottles and fiberglass is much preferred over use in landfill-related applications, as this has the highest environmental benefits. One major challenge for local governments and haulers has been the high cost of getting curbside glass to a market. Because curbside glass is mixed by color, it must go to an optical sorter for color sorting before going to a glass bottle manufacturer. Until recently, no local recyclers had optic sorting technology.
It looks like this trend will soon change.
eCullet, a national company, has brought an optical glass sorter to Oregon, which will allow Oregon glass to be processed into bottles in the Portland metro region. The eCullet plant will open in late August, 2012. eCullet has an ongoing relationship with glass bottle manufacturer Owens-Illinois, Inc., also located in NE Portland. In addition, Bennu Glass is scheduled to begin production of wine bottles in its new Kalama, Wash., plant in July 2012. This will provide an extra market for recycling green glass from Oregon and Washington.
Once these two facilities are up and running you can feel rest assured that bottles that you put in your curbside recycling and your bottle bill return bottles will be sorted and recycled right here in our region.
Watch eCullet optic sorting at work in this YouTube Video.