16 ways (and counting) to recycle glass in Summit County
Glass can’t be mixed with other recyclables but new drop-off bins make it easy to recycle your bottles and jars
Unlike most other materials, glass can be infinitely recycled to make new glass bottles and jars. The glass recycled today will be the glass used by our grandchildren’s grandchildren—and potentially endless generations after that. And when it’s recycled properly, the glass used in Summit County gets returned to store shelves in roughly 30 days. Now, new glass recycling drop-off stations are making it more convenient to recycle glass in Summit County.
Once upon a bottle
In the last few months, residents may have noticed the new drop-off stations: large, clearly marked blue bins located in neighborhoods across Summit County. These new glass stations offer a convenient way to recycle glass bottles and jars and give them a new life, while keeping them in Colorado.
Glass recyclables pose a challenge, because they aren’t accepted in single stream recycling. In single stream recycling, all recyclables except glass go into the same bin. There’s no need for multiple bins or sorting out each plastic bottle, cereal box, newspaper, cardboard box, and soda can, making single stream recycling extremely convenient.
After single stream recycling gets picked up, it goes to the Summit County Resource Allocation Park (SCRAP), where it’s smashed into a big block called a bale. Once there’s a full truckload of bales, it all gets transported to Denver for further sorting and sale.
Now, imagine the fate of a glass bottle in this scenario. Most likely, it’s shattered. That shattered bottle leaves tiny, barely-visible slivers of glass lodged in the cereal boxes, newspapers and cardboard boxes that are also in that bale of recyclables. This makes everything in the bale difficult to recycle, and increases the cost of recycling dramatically. Depending on the amount of glass in a bale, it might not even be able to be recycled.
But when they’re separated from other recyclables, glass bottles hold more value. Most importantly, they actually get recycled. Neighborhood glass stations like those now available in Summit County make it much easier for anyone with single stream to recycle their glass bottles and jars.
Why glass, why now?
In Summit County, just 19% of waste is recycled and composted. The rest ends up in the landfill. The state and the national diversion rates both sit at 35%. Because of this gap, and the fact that landfills have limited space, the Summit County community created a goal to reach 40% diversion by 2035, essentially doubling the current rate. In short, we’ve all got work to do!
Thankfully, dedicated community members and voters already did some heavy lifting with the Strong Future Initiative. Passed in November 2018, the ballot measure provides $1.7 million annually, for 10 years, to fund new and existing recycling programs. That measure is the reason Summit County still has recycling programs in a time when many communities have scaled back or eliminated recycling. It’s also the reason Summit County has no-fee carton, mattress, food scrap, and now, glass station recycling.
For local recycling guidelines and a map of all recycling locations, visit HighCountryConservation.org/recycle, or call the High Country Conservation Center at 970-668-5703.
Blue River Town Hall
110 Whispering Pines Circle, Blue River
Dillon Town Hall
275 Lake Dillon Drive, Dillon
150 Marina Drive, Dillon
Dillon Valley – Near the intersection of Deer Path Road and Little Beaver Trail
019 Straight Creek Drive, Dillon
Summit Cove – Near the Rice Barn
395 Cove Blvd., Dillon
Summit Cove Fire Station
434 Summit Dr., Dillon
Keystone Ski Resort Employee Center
21799 US-6, Keystone
300 S. High St., Breckenridge
Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center
103 S Harris St., Breckenridge
Kingdom Park/Recreation Center
880 Airport Rd., Breckenridge
Stephen C. West Ice Arena
189 Boreas Pass Rd., Breckenridge
Whole Foods Market
261 Lusher Ct, Frisco
Willowbrook Bus Stop – Across from the Trent Park Baseball field
Willowbrook Road, Silverthorne
Glass bottles and jars are also accepted at the Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne Recycling Centers
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