Recycling of glass is easily done because all of the glass can be reused to produce new glass or used in other materials as fill. Collection sites are few in North Dakota but can be found in the larger communities and some smaller ones. Check locally for these sites.

Think Tank Update: 5 Jan. 2010

The North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Waste Management, has hosted four "think tank" meetings to determine if there is an interest in glass recycling, and how it might work in North Dakota. The Department is available to help foster the meetings and gather information, and the meetings have shown that more information is needed in terms of markets and products for glass recycling.  Glass recycling might be spearheaded by a private company, a non-profit organization, and/or a cooperative of municipalities and/or interested parties.

The US EPA reports 5.3% of glass is in the solid waste stream across the nation.  EPA reports that of the 5.3%, 23% of the glass is recoverable.  Statewide, North Dakota produces 663 tons of garbage per year, which equates to 8 tons of recoverable glass per year.

The NDDOT looked at glass recycling and use in other states, such as a 10% mix of glass in road base.  Ron Horner, NDDOT, conducted glass hardness and compaction tests which showed an abrasion loss of 38.9.  This would meet specifications for road base in terms of hardness testing.  A half mile road base using 10% glass mix would use one year's collection.  It took 2 years for Helena, MT, to get 2000 tons of glass, and it only covered one quarter of a mile in a DOT project with 5% mix to stretch it as far as they could.  However, utilization of glass in road projects would be very limited because of State low-bid requirements and the combined cost of glass processing and transportation.  For instance, mining rock / sand costs approximately $7 - $11 per ton, while recycled glass cost approximately $12 - $14 per ton.  City streets and downtown beautification projects might be an option for glass utilization since transportation distances would be less.

Glass is currently recycled in Grand Forks as part of their single-stream curbside residential recycling program, as well as at their four drop sites.  The glass recycling meetings have resulted in the encouragement of showcasing recycled glass products at Home Builders Shows around the state this spring, as well as the idea of approaching local malls to determine if there is an interest in using recycled glass as an indoor landscaping display.

Outstanding questions remain, however, including if there is enough glass that could be collected to make the market sustainable, and if consumer demand would meet product supply.  Kim Braun (business woman, New England), has applied for a USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grant, with a project that would fund a feasibility study for recycling glass into other finished products.  Kim will follow up with the group at our next meeting, scheduled for Friday, 16 April 2010.  If you are interested in attending the next glass recycling discussion, or learning more, please contact ND Division of Waste Management by telephone at 701.328.5166.

Division of Waste Management Home Page

Updated: 6 Jun. 2011