Glass, especially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. Americans generated 11.5 million tons of glass in 2014, about 26 percent of which was recovered for recycling. The City of Gallatin Recycling Center recycles glass bottles, crushing the glass for use in industrial products like sidewalk aggregate. Quantities are also available to the public for craft needs and DIY projects. Call today at 615-451-5909 to reserve yours!
Any glass contaminated with stones, dirt, and food waste
Ceramics, such as dishware, ovenware, and decorative items
Aluminum, various other metals, and paper goods are the low-hanging fruit of the recycling industry because these materials have value to industry as a raw material. On the other hand, glass tends to be a burden for recycling centers because it’s heavy, dangerous for workers, and unsorted glass co-mingled with other waste is virtually worthless to manufacturers of new glass.
Gallatin’s Public Works Department sought to change that with their investment in a glass crusher. The new device, partially funded by a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, gives glass a new life as a valuable construction material rather than ending up as waste in the landfill.
It currently costs us $45 per ton to pay a third party recycler to take glass, plus another $14 per ton to haul it to them. With the only other alternative being to landfill the glass, Gallatin 's Public Works Director, Zach Wilkinson, was forced to become creative. He stated "With this crusher, we’re joining the ranks of many progressive cities that can divert trash from our landfills and end up with a useful product.”
The department plans to use the
crusher to produce an 1/8 inch aggregate that can be use in different public
works projects. Workers can substitute glass in place of crushed stone
in road and sidewalks as well as drainage construction. Similar
aggregate materials purchased for these projects cost the City of
Gallatin more than $9 per ton. In the future, Public Works also hopes to
make the crushed glass available to contractors once the process has
been tested and refined and also start taking glass from other recyclers
in the County at a lower cost, than what they are currently paying.
Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown says the investment is a first step in
building up Gallatin’s recycling program. “This not only makes financial
sense, but it also helps address a larger public concern of waste
disposal,” said Brown. “Everyone wants our streets, parks, and lakes
clean, and awareness and participation in recycling goes hand-in-hand
with keeping Gallatin beautiful.”