- Pace Glass broke ground earlier this month on the world's largest glass recycling facility, slated to be 250,000 square feet on approximately 90 acres in Andover Township, N.J. Scheduled for completion in summer 2019 — with operations starting several months earlier — the facility should handle 800,000 tons a year, Pace CEO George Valiotis told New Jersey Business.
- Pace plans to extend the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway line 600 to 700 feet into the property, thus shifting some burden of materials transport from trucks and roads to rail. Still, Pace plans to hire up to 60 truck drivers to haul cullet from the new plant to manufacturers in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
- At its original Jersey City plant, Pace Glass handles 25 tons an hour. Once operational, the second plant will nearly quadruple company capacity to about 90 tons an hour, according to Recycling Today. The new facility will include R&D capabilities and create about 80 jobs across two shifts, almost double those employed at Jersey City.
"I have learned that there is no end to how long glass can be recycled," Andover Township Mayor McGovern said at a groundbreaking ceremony, but cost and safety concerns have put limits on that capacity. With weak markets for recycled material, many MRFs have stockpiles of glass. So CEO Valiotis’ comment, "We hope what we are doing in Andover is a model for other towns in the nation," can be seen as hopeful, as a rallying cry or both.
Recycled glass in consumer bottle-bill areas is of higher quality than glass derived from single-stream recycling. Although New Jersey does not have a bottle bill, it is within truck and rail distance of four states that do: New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. (Delaware has repealed its law.) Buyers should be more amenable to Pace Glass’ products, and Valiotis’ optimism may not be misplaced.
Around the country, some firms have stopped and even restarted glass recycling as markets have shifted and companies find creative ways around problems in the sector. Working on the commercial side rather than the residential side is one possibility; getting households to pay (extra) for glass collection is another.
Stopping and starting collection confuses the public, though, resulting in lower yields. Growing the market is a stronger call. Besides containers, glass can be recycled into fiberglass, decorative countertops, carpet backing, paint additives, concrete coating, filtration media, asphalt sealant, roadfill material and more. The more end users find recycled glass economical and available, the greater the demand — and the more open municipalities will be to a recycling program.
Until demand increases, expect to see stopgap measures like the glass disposal waivers approved in Massachusetts so towns could landfill their material after the local bottling plant closed in March. Clearly, the availability of cleaner glass alone doesn't make up for loss of a major buyer. However, whether growth comes in the form of infrastructure spending or insulating buildings against climate change, Pace Glass will now be ready for a surge in demand.