Bottles in a dumpster
Photo by Sylvain Robin

Don’t Trash Glass pilot program launches in Chicago

The program brings together the Glass Recycling Foundation, GlassKing, Constellation Brands, LRS and Strategic Materials.

Brands and key players in the glass recycling industry in Chicago have launched the Don’t Trash Glass Program (DTG). The eight-week program seeks to collect glass containers at Greater Chicago area bars and restaurants to be recycled into new bottles, fiberglass and more. 

The program is funded by the nonprofit Glass Recycling Foundation (GRF) based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in partnership with Legacy Marketing in Chicago and beer importer Constellation Brands of Victor, New York. The organizations and businesses involved in the program include glass hauler GlassKing, of Phoenix, waste hauler Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS) and glass recycler Strategic Materials, which is headquartered in Houston.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to pilot Don’t Trash Glass in Chicago. The need is clear, and partnering with Corona, GlassKing, Lakeshore Recycling and Strategic Materials shows the value of partnerships across the industry,” says Scott DeFife, president of the Glass Packaging Institute and Glass Recycling Foundation. 

According to a news release from the GRF, the program provides an opportunity for glass-intensive retailers, such as bars and restaurants, to divert glass from the landfill so that it can be recycled. The goal is to create a self-sustaining program that will be scalable in other parts of the country.  

“We are thrilled about this partnership and the impact of diverting and recycling glass, creating a full circle for recycling right in the Greater Chicago area,” says Rose King, chief operating officer of GlassKing.

Glass bottles and containers collected for the Don’t Trash Glass Program will become new containers or fiberglass. GlassKing will bring the collected glass to the LRS facility, which operates a single-stream recycling facility at its Heartland Recycling Center in Forest View, Illinois.

“LRS is very excited to be a part of this pilot outreach program to get more people educated on the importance of recycling glass and encouraging more businesses to recycle in Chicagoland,” says LRS CEO Alan T. Handley. He adds that the company’s Heartland Recycling Center handles more than 110,000 tons of high-grade residential and commercial single-stream recyclables per year and sorts, separates and allocates more than 20 tons of waste per hour.

The GRF says Strategic Materials is the largest glass processor in the United States, and it operates a location in Chicago. The company’s process separates and cleans glass to be sold to bottle and fiberglass insulation manufacturers, creating full recycling circularity. 

“Bar and restaurant collection programs are a great way to divert more glass from landfills and into the local circular economy,” says Laura Hennemann, vice president of communications at Strategic Materials. “The glass bottles in this program will be enjoyed, collected and recycled all within the Chicagoland area, and back as a new bottle in less than 30 days.”