Thursday, December 7, 2023

James City County Unveils Pilot Glass Recycling Program

Representatives from James City County and Owens-Illinois were the first to utilize the new purple glass recycling bins at the Toano Convenience Center. (WYDaily/Ben Mackin)

TOANO — Starting today, Sept. 22, James City County (JCC) residents who regularly use the county recycling convenience centers will notice a brand new bin in which to drop off their glass bottles.

The bins, which are painted a bright purple, are the start of a pilot program in which the county partnered with Owens-Illinois (O-I), a world-wide glass manufacturer, in an effort to promote recycling and sustainability in the county.

Through this program, O-I has donated the signature purple bins at all three JCC convenience centers. When the bins are filled with empty and rinsed glass bottles and jars, O-I will transport the refuse to its manufacturing facility on Industrial Boulevard in Toano.

There, it will be processed into cullet, which is an essential material for making new glass products. Recycled glass can be used for up to 95 percent of the raw materials needed to make new glass.

Outside of helping environmental sustainability, this program has several benefits for JCC residents. By removing glass from the general recycling collections will ultimately save the county money.

“For one glass is the heaviest material use in the comingle recycling, says Kate Sipes, the county assistant director for economic development. “Taking the glass out makes it lighter, and the county pays by weight. On top of that, because O-I is right in our backyard, we do not have any additional cost for transporting the glass. There is also the additional benefit of providing one of our industries with a supply chain.”

As well as donating the bins, O-I will also make contributions to the United Way based on the amount of glass that it receives from the county.

Sue Sadler, of the JCC Board of Supervisors and Scott Stevens, County Administrator, were on hand to christen the new bins.

“James City County has a long tradition of glassmaking with glass first being mad here in 1609,” said Stevens. “For more than 40-years, Owens-Illinois has manufactured modern glass in James City County, building upon the long tradition of glass making.”

The bins can only be found at the JCC convenience centers. Glass will still be picked up curbside, but only the material in the bins will be taken to O-I. When glass gets mixed in with single stream recycling it can break during transport and processing, making it hard to separate it from the other materials.

“On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I am pleased that glass continues to thrive in James City County,” said Supervisor Sue Sadler. “I hope our citizens will contribute to creating a circular economy by separating their glass and dropping it off into the purple bins.”

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