Alexandria, VA – You know all that glass you put in the recycling bin? Most of it ends up in landfills for a variety of reasons, including contamination, increasing costs and inability to process so much volume. Alexandria has consequently opened four drop-off centers throughout the city, and the collected glass will be hauled off to be processed in Fairfax County to be used as gravel and sand in landscaping and construction projects.
The purple “glass-only” drop-off centers are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are located at:
- S. Whiting Street (At the end of S. Whiting Street, intersecting at Tower Court)
- 3224 Colvin Street
- 4251 Eisenhower Avenue
- Jones Point Park (On the left, at the end of S. Royal Street heading south under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge)
“Rather than removing glass from Alexandria’s recycling program, as some jurisdictions around the country have done, the City has decided to weather the current challenges and continue to collect glass curbside until the market for recycled glass improves,” notes the program’s webpage. “The City is actively monitoring the market for a viable option to recycle glass and working with our neighbors to propose and advocate for innovative solutions.”
The service is part of the city’s Environmental Action Plan and WasteSmart Strategic Plan, a 20-year blueprint for the Alexandria’s recycling efforts that the city council unanimously adopted on Jan. 12, 2019, and which listed glass as “a liability from a recycling perspective.”
According to the WasteSmart Strategic Plan:
“One major issue with glass collected in single stream recycling programs is contamination. Since glass breaks during collection and processing, it is difficult to keep other small particles such as metal lids, ceramics, porcelain, rocks and other fines from being processed along with the glass. This contamination is enough to prevent container and fiberglass recyclers from purchasing the processed glass material. As such, most processors currently view glass as a contaminant, not a resource. In addition, broken glass is a danger to the workers on the collection routes and at the processing facilities.”
The city says that glass jars and bottles can keep their labels, but should be rinsed out. All glass colors are accepted. Also, the city is no longer processing plastic bags and recommends taking them to collection points like grocery and department stores.
What Else Isn’t Recyclable?
- Non-food & beverage metal containers (i.e. metal blinds, pots & pans, etc.): These items can be recycled at the Covanta facility located on Eisenhower Ave.
- Wire clothes-hangers: Return hangers to your favorite dry cleaners for reuse or recycle them at the Covanta metals recycling box noted above.
- Waxed paper: Paper cups, political signs, wax cooking paper, waxed cardboard, plastic-coated paper
- Ceramic Cups
- Styrofoam and Packing Peanuts
- Plastic cups, trays and fruit and salad containers
- Propane tanks (i.e. camping stove propane tanks)
- Helium Tanks
- Windows and mirrors
- Lamps or bulbs