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Springfield Finds New Market for Recycling Glass

Glass collected for recycling in Springfield could soon have a new place to go. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.

Right now, this is what happens to glass collected at Springfield’s recycling centers.

“About five years ago, we began to stockpile our glass and use it in construction projects.”Barbara Lucks oversees recycling efforts for the city. She says Springfield took this approach to re-using glass because it’s so expensive to haul heavy glass away to the few glass refractories that exist. But now, the city of Springfield has a new market for its glass. Lucks says Ripple Glass of Kansas City will not only accept the glass but will pay to haul it away.

Lucks says, “It’s a glass processing, a glass crusher plant, and there’s a several million dollar investment. So, they accept the glass, they crush it to spec, and they’re able to provide it for recycling. They’ve found an end user that they’re contracted with, so it’s stable and ongoing. And, they take mixed glass, so we don’t have to sort the glass by color, which is always another roadblock, if you will.”

The company Ripple Glass will process the material, making it ready for use in fiberglass insulation products. Some Springfield residents can recycle glass curbside, though there are three haulers that have exemptions and are not required to collect glass. The city’s recycling centers accept glass. And, because of this new agreement, Lucks says the city will also accept glass from area municipalities. Residents in those communities will take glass to their local recycling center, if it accepts glass, and that material will then come to Springfield.

Springfield City Council still has to give final approval to the contract with Ripple Glass.