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What to Do With Glass (December 2019)


Many of you are wondering what to do with glass. There have been many changes in the industry over the past year, which has presented some confusion. We appreciate your patience as we have adapted to the industry and the market in planning how to best make use of glass.

Glass will be collected in your recycling container from your municipality to be repurposed for another use.

Glass is repurposed, but not “recycled” according to the PA DEP's definition of recycling.  Glass will not be considered a recycled material or be counted as recycled to meet a grant or recycling condition. 

About the Recycling Industry

2019 has been particularly complicated for the recycling industry. Prior to 2018, other countries bought and processed the majority of America’s recyclables. But these other countries recently upped their quality requirements - which means that any contaminated recycling materials have nowhere to go but the landfill.

Glass is considered a contaminant because it can break and become lodged in paper, plastic and metals. As a result, many companies nationwide have responded to the issue by no longer accepting glass in recycling.

However, we have been looking into alternative ways to utilize glass. By regulation, Seneca Landfill is required to cover exposed solid waste at the end of each working day. Typically soil or other approved material is used.  Seneca has received approval to use broken and commingled glass (cullet) as an alternative daily cover. The benefit of using alternative daily covers is that we are repurposing what would otherwise be a waste; conserving virgin resources (soil) and reducing emissions that result from mining the material.  

Because the glass ends up in the landfill, DEP does not consider it recycling; however, using the glass as alternative daily cover maximizes reuse potential over disposing.  This also enables us to understand the quantity of glass material flowing through the system, so that we can easily divert it as other uses and markets develop.

For these reasons, we will accept glass bottles and food containers in your recycling container.  

What You Can Do With Glass

We appreciate our customers' commitment to minimizing waste! Please follow these guidelines to help us repurpose your glass.

  • Place green, clear and amber glass food and beverage containers in your recycling container.
  • Clean glass containers to remove any food or liquid.
  • Certain types of glass cannot be placed in your recycling container and should be thrown in your trash: Pyrex, drinking glasses, ceramic, crystal, lightbulbs, mirrors, broken glass.