The Arlington County government’s removal of glass from residential recycling efforts generated community opposition when it was implemented.
But since the installation of glass-recycling centers in 2019, local residents have deposited more than 2,500 tons – 5 million pounds – worth of glass products into them.
And under a new agreement, the county government is now receiving cash for its efforts.
Arlington officials for the past several months have collaborated with a Pennsylvania recycler that pays $15 per ton for glass harvested in Arlington. That may not be a windfall, but it is more than nothing.
Arlington officials in 2019 eliminated glass from the residential recycling program that is mandatory in most single-family neighborhoods, because glass could no longer be effectively recycled, and because firms that handled recycling were no longer interested in glass as a commodity.
Responding to criticism from the community, the government began setting up glass-dropoff sites, which now total five across the community – enough so no resident is further than 2.25 miles away from one.
When the drop-off program was launched in 2019, the collected glass was crushed by the Fairfax County government for use in regional landscaping and infrastructure projects. Under the new arrangement, glass collected by the Pennsylvania firm is recycled into a host of items.
Bottles and jars that are not transported to collection sites should be disposed of in the regular (black) curbside trash cart, not the recycling (blue) one, county officials said.
PHOTO: Arlington County government photo shows one of the glass-recycling bins placed across the community.