- An $11 million Momentum Recycling plant is about to launch in Boulder County, CO to harvest a projected 5,000 tons of glass a month collected from the state’s largest recyclers, including Waste Management and Alpine Waste. Momentum will process up to 80,000 tons a year of this hard-to-recycle material and sell it to two local bottlemaking plants, cutting the plants’ production-related energy expenditure by 3% for every 10% increase in glass delivered, as reported in the Denver Post.
- The remaining lesser quality glass—about 15%—will go to secondary markets for applications such as large water filters and concrete coatings. Momentum plans to expand its glass recycling efforts with $202,000 it received from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Recycling Resources Economic Opportunity Grant program.
- Momentum also plans to capitalize on other wastes; even dust. The company will collect the dust that has potential to harm its machines, bag, and sell it.
"Glass has become the scourge of recycling...You can't make money from it," Gray Russell, sustainability officer for Montclair, NJ, told The Wall Street Journal. But Colorado's Momentum does not agree, and is investing big to try and get on top of the problem—and even capitalize on it.
Momentum actually recycles all types of waste and is trying to help pull Colorado’s low diversion rate up, but the company and the states’ other recyclers have plenty of work ahead. In 2014, Colorado recycled about 23% of its trash, down from 26.1 % in 2012 and significantly down from the national average of 34%.
Momentum is focusing in part on glass because about 12,000 tons of this material ends up in landfills in that state very month, typically contaminating other materials in the stream and robbing them of their value. Consequently many haulers and recyclers just landfill it. Momentum is among a small but growing group investing in high-tech, expensive equipment to sort and clean glass hoping to address a big environmental problem while turning a profit. Clear Intentions, which works in the same region, has similar plans with an ambitious goal of recycling 100% of Denver’s glass. And Ohio’s Rumpke, a solid waste management company, has its own glass recycling plant.