Glass can be recycled in your residential recycling cart until April 1st, 2019.
When Little Rock started its single-stream recycling program in 2012 glass was one of the accepted items. In the six years that Little Rock has had single-stream recycling our contracted recycling company, Waste Management, has learned a lot about the affect of glass on the recycling process. There are three reasons why glass will no longer be an accepted item starting next April.
1) Broken pieces of glass bottles easily stick to paper and cardboard and contaminate the paper and cardboard end product that is produced at the recycling facility (called MRF, short for Materials Recollection Facility). This reduces the value that the MRF receives for their sorted paper and cardboard products.
2) The broken pieces of glass act as sandpaper on the moving pieces of the sorting machinery, specifically the belts. This significantly increases monthly and yearly maintenance costs of the very expensive equipment at the MRF.
3) There is very weak market for recycled glass because the cost of making glass from raw materials is cheaper than making glass from recycled materials. Therefore the MRF is not able to sell glass for profit.
Glass causes expensive problems during the sorting process and is an unprofitable commodity at the moment. For these reasons glass will no longer be accepted in residential recycling starting April 1st, 2019. There will be alternative ways for glass to be recycled. The City is currently working on a glass drop off plan and an optional pick up program for glass may be available for Little Rock in 2019.