- Knoxville, TN will stop accepting glass in its curbside recycling program starting on Jan. 1, 2017, as reported by WATE.
- The city's solid waste manager cited common issues of mixed glass having low value and broken glass contaminating other materials in a single-stream system.
- Residents can still recycle glass separated by color at five drop-off centers. The city has also put out a survey asking for input on drop-off locations and options to gauge interest in the program.
This decision has been in the works for some time. Cost issues were referenced in a 2015 county report which called glass "very problematic" and noted that many communities had already stopped accepting it. Knoxville will join other cities in the region such as Nashville that also don't offer curbside glass recycling.
The city's drop-off centers may not achieve the same capture rate as a curbside program would but they will be more likely to ensure that whatever is collected has some value. In a similar decision, Houston moved to open drop-off centers after experiencing backlash from suspending its own curbside glass collection program.
It has become common to see municipalities or companies take this approach, but there are still many others who have found ways to make glass collection work. From California to Missouri to Ohio, many companies have installed new sorting equipment in response to obstacles with glass processing. Concerted efforts by industry groups and local governments to find solutions have also helped spread ideas about handling a material that may be challenging but won't be leaving the waste stream any time soon.