Impacts of COVID-19 on Glass Recycling in Utah
This article was written by Momentum Recycling “Amglassador” McKenzie Steward.
At Momentum Recycling, we collect, process, and recycle glass from residents and businesses across the Wasatch Front. Since Covid-19, a significant shift in the amount of glass recycling has occurred. Here is how each of our services has been impacted: commercial, residential, and drop-off.
Commercial Glass Recycling
With restaurants closed for most of April, we had minimal inbound glass from them. For January, February, and March, we collected on average 134.66 tons of glass per month at these commercial locations. In April, when businesses were forced to close, we only collected a total of 32.5 tons. This is a decrease not only in the volume of glass recycling, but also represents the decrease in customer foot traffic to their locations. To help support them, we launched our Support Blue Businesses directory for you to know which local businesses are also committed to recycling to then support with your eating-out dollars.
Residential Glass Recycling
Momentum Recycling provides a curbside glass recycling collection service for residents throughout the Salt Lake Valley (sign-up here). In this segment, we also saw a significant shift. With more people at home, we saw a significant increase in glass volumes. Such that, for the first three months of the year, we collected an average of 75 tons per month of glass from the curbside service. In April though, we collected 128.5 tons from residential curbside bins! So, as more residents were at home, the data shows they generated significantly more glass than usual as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glass Recycling Public Drop-Off Locations
Across the state, we provide free public drop-off locations for residents to utilize for glass recycling (find your nearest drop-off location here). These locations provide an opportunity for residents to recycle glass if the curbside service is not available to them. While our other two services for glass recycling saw a significant shift in quantity as a result of COVID-19, glass volumes from our drop-off locations remained about the same month-over-month.
Each of our three services for glass recycling plays a vital role in helping Utah become more sustainable. Between the commercial and residential services for the first three months of the year, we collected on average a total of 209.66 tons per month. For April though, the total came to around 161 tons. If liquor store sales were way up, and if more people were cooking at home, then where did the glass go? We think that, unfortunately, that glass ended up in the landfill (unless residents are stockpiling it until their next trip to a drop-off location, which is possible). To address this shortage, we hope that more people learn about our glass recycling services to help Utah move towards zero waste!