Glass Recycling: 1 Million Pounds and Counting

Published on December 30, 2019

Cheers to a successful start to Arlington's glass recycling drop-off program.  

The County is closing out 2019 with more than 1 million pounds (500 tons) of collected glass for recycling in less than nine months. That's equivalent to the weight of 27 ART buses.  

In April 2019, the County debuted its first glass-only collection bins at recycling drop-off centers located at Quincy Park (Washington Boulevard and North Quincy Street) and the Trades Center (2700 S. Taylor St.). Three additional locations were added in September to ensure that all Arlington residents were within 2.5 miles of a drop-off location. New locations include: Aurora Hills Community Center/Branch Library, Cherrydale Branch Library, and Lee Community Center.

Glass material collected in the drop-off bins is sent to Fairfax for recycling and reuse as roadbed aggregate, pipe bedding in wastewater and storm improvement projects, as well as other construction materials.

[caption id="attachment_24086" align="aligncenter" width="589"] New glass recycling drop-off bin at Aurora Hills Community Center/Branch Library.[/caption]

On August 1, 2019, Arlington officially removed glass from the list of items accepted in its curbside recycling program.  This change was made due to a lack of economically viable regional markets for recycled glass, which prevented glass collected in the blue bins from being recycled. With this change, residents are now asked to keep glass out of their blue recycle carts.    

MORE: The economics of recycling right in Arlington

Given the change, the County is offering tips to reduce the environmental impact of using glass food and beverage containers: 

  • Buy fewer products in glass containers and more in recyclable metal or even plastic 

  • Reuse glass containers for new storage and other purposes 

  • Drop off glass recyclables in presorted glass-only containers at the County's recycling drop-off centers for crushing and reuse as construction and landscaping material.  

If residents still have glass containers to dispose of, they should place them in their black trash carts for pick-up.