Virginia’s Arlington County joined a growing number of jurisdictions across the country earlier this year in asking residents to stop placing glass in their blue recycle bins, but it has had success with drop-off locations for recyclable glass.
In April, Arlington County opened its first glass-only collection bins at Quincy Park at Washington Boulevard and North Quincy Street, at the Trades Center at 2700 W. Taylor St.
Since then, the county says, Arlington residents have placed about 200 tons of glass in those recycling bins.
The glass all goes to a new glass crushing and recycling plant in Fairfax County, dubbed “Big Blue,” where the glass is turned into sand and gravel used in paving, construction and landscaping.
Fairfax County, Alexandria, Prince William County and Arlington County announced a partnership to recycle glass jointly earlier this year.
There are currently close to two dozen glass recycling drop-off locations in the Northern Virginia region.
Arlington County’s newest additions are Aurora Hills Community Center, at 735 18th St. S.; Cherrydale Branch Library, at 2190 N. Military Road; and Lee Community Center, at 5722 Lee Highway.
Cities and counties across the country are responding to a significant drop in the market value of recycled glass that makes it no longer economically sustainable to collect it through curbside residential recycling streams.
Arlington County’s Solid Waste Bureau recently published a report that showed the value of unsorted glass has actually fallen into negative value on the recycling market.
Glass accounts for about a quarter of the contents of residential recycling bins by weight inside, and it usually ends up in landfills.
Arlington County has an online guide for curbside recycling and dropoff locations.