Dennis to Become Regional Glass Recycling Center

DENNIS – A sustainable solution for Cape Cod when it comes to glass recycling is coming to Dennis.

The town’s Solid Waste and Recycling Committee recently received a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to start a regional glass recycling depot.

Cape Cod communities will be able to bring glass recyclables to Dennis where is will be processed by an outside vendor contracted by the non-profit Northeast Resource Recovery Association once or twice per year.

“The cool part about this project is that the towns actually are going to receive the glass back once it has been crushed,” said Emma Brimdyr, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute student and program intern.

Towns that participate will need to take back the same amount of glass that they bring to the Dennis depot.

“They can use it for a glass aggregate,” Brimdyr said. “They can use it under roads and highway projects or they can use it as pipe bedding.”

Brimdyr said there should be very little change for residents and towns when it comes to recycling glass.

“Some towns are actually going to start going to recycling glass separately if they are currently doing it in a single stream fashion,” she said. “But otherwise you are just going to be throwing the glass away the same as usual.”

Communities in the state and across the nation are struggling to recycle and reuse glass. The demand for the glass has decreased in China which has resulted in many recycling businesses to close down domestically as prices continue to rise.

A major reason for China closing its borders to the recycled glass is contamination, which has limited the number of ways the material can be utilized.

“People aren’t taking off the labels. People aren’t cleaning out the bottles before recycling them,” Brimdyr said. “It means that you can’t actually use any of these materials again.”

It has become cheaper to use new glass as opposed of using recycled glass.

Recycling glass used to cost communities between $20-$35 per ton and that number has skyrocketed up to $80-$95.

“We don’t have an endless supply of materials,” Brimdyr said.

The grant from the DEP will be used to convert the facility in Dennis into a place that can accept the glass.

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