Movement growing to recycle glass in KC - KCTV5 News

Movement growing to recycle glass in KC

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There is a major movement in Kansas City to recycle glass.

In the past two years, Ripple Glass has put out more than 100 purple bins across the metro.

So what do they do with all the glass they collect?  KCTV5 decided to find out.

A romantic dinner, a bottle of wine. This is the scene at restaurants and bars throughout the metro every single night.

The Urban Table in Prairie Village sells hundreds of bottles of beer, wine and soda every day, but instead of throwing them in the trash, they put them in the recycle bin.

"We recycle nightly," said Urban Table manager Emily Dane.  "Ripple Glass has made it really easy for us with the bins throughout the city, and I think there is no excuse not to (recycle)."

The purple bin sits in the parking lot and twice a day, Emily and her staff take all the empty bottles and dump them.

"Bars and restaurants go through so much glass, and so yeah, it takes a little bit of extra effort, especially if you don't have a bin close by," said Dane.

Once full, a truck picks up the purple bin and takes it to the Ripple Glass facility on Kansas City's east side.  They then dump the glass out on the pavement.  With broken glass strewn all over the ground, a front loader scoops up the glass and dumps it into a storage container connected to a conveyor belt.  The belts then move the glass through the facility, where the machines and a worker do their jobs.

"Once it is inside our plant, it is cleaned of everything but the glass. Rocks are knocked out, paper is vacuumed away, magnets pull out any metals," said executive director of Ripple Glass Stacia Stelk.

After being cleaned, it is then separated.

All the brown glass, about 15 percent of the glass collected, is shipped to Oklahoma and made into beer bottles, then sent back to the Boulevard Brewing facility to hold more beer.

The other 85 percent of the glass goes to Owens Corning in Fairfax where the company melts the recycled glass and uses it to make insulation material.

"It is better for our landfills.  They will last longer, and it is better for them because they're keeping it out of their trash and doing something productive with this material instead," said Stelk.

Two years ago, the owners of Boulevard Brewing created Ripple Glass to service a need in the community. While most communities around the nation recycled 30-percent of their glass, Kansas City only recycled five-percent.

In the past two years, that number in Kansas City has jumped to 16 percent, and Ripple Glass is not done. Right now, 70 restaurants in the metro recycle their glass. Starting in January, 50 more restaurants and bars will begin putting their glass in the purple bins.

"With so much of their waste stream being glass, we expect to see a lot of wonderful product come from these bars and restaurants," said Stelk.

The movement is really growing in Kansas City, and Ripple Glass is working with Mission Hills right now to give purple tubs to residents there so they can leave their glass by the curb every week.

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