For the first time, the county is accepting glass at the William Few Parkway Facility in Grovetown and at a center set to open Wednesday in Evans.
Private sanitation services that pick up recyclables from homes will still not pick up glass materials at the curb, according to Green Programs Manager Jenny Hinson. Still, Hinson said the drop-off service will provide an option for those who have been cringing at throwing glass into the garbage.
“There was a large demand,” she said. “We’ve been trying for about three years now to bring in a glass recycler.”
Atlanta’s Strategic Materials is the only processing facility in Georgia that accepts glass from cities for crushing, sorting and being made into new glass. Because of that, Hinson said, it is difficult for cities to arrange affordable contracts with transportation companies to send glass to that facility.
Columbia County was able to get a contract with RockTenn, which Hinson said comes at no cost to the county or taxpayers.
Hinson said the facility has collected more than 3 tons of glass items since the county started accepting them in early December.
Residents from any county can drop off glass. Only unbroken brown, green and clear glass food containers are accepted.
Evans resident Darlena Moore said she and her husband, Sam, were surprised to find out the area did not recycle glass when she moved from Asheville, N.C., where they would put glass and other recyclables on the street every week to be picked up.
“We’ve been recycling for so long and just lived in a culture in Asheville where it was almost unacceptable not to do it,” Moore said.
Though she will have to drive the glass to the facilities, she said the effort will be well worth the opportunity.
In Richmond County, glass also isn’t collected at homes by sanitation services, but it can be dropped off at the county landfill.
Hazel Mobley, a consultant for Strategic Materials, said cities that don’t collect glass are usually dealing with a transportation problem. Glass must be transported separately from other materials, she said.
Still, Mobley said Georgia leads the nation in glass recycling and is making strides in keeping the environment healthy.
“The greatest thing this state has going for itself is about 70 Keep America Beautiful programs and super recycling programs,” she said. “With what you’ve got going on there and generating (in Columbia County), it’s a great thing.”