SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The largest city in coastal Georgia is in talks about a new way to recycle glass that it's currently burying in a landfill, even though it still accepts glass in recycling bins.
WTOC-TV reports Savannah officials are in talks with Glass WRX SC, a South Carolina company that seeks to recycle glass into air and water filtration systems, road surfaces and prefabricated interior walls.
The city stopped recycling glass more than five years ago after running out of users willing to accept the bulky material. It's a common problem nationwide. Savannah still finds new users for paper, plastic and metals that it collects from all-in-one recycling bins.
In 2020, about 25% of what the city collected from recycling bins, including about 1,000 tons of glass, were buried in the city landfill. Some of that was because materials were too contaminated for further use.
City officials recently toured Glass WRX SC's facility in Beaufort, South Carolina. One use is turning glass into rock-like water filters.
“If you’re out having an adult beverage, your glass could be turned into this tomorrow,” said Alderman Nick Palumbo.
Palumbo said Savannah could sell its glass for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, helping to offset recycling costs. Recycling and litter services cost Savannah more than $3.7 million each year.
“He’s cracked the code in trying to upcycle this product other people are throwing away,” Palumbo said of the company’s owner.
Pictures from one of those tours show Glass WRX has already painted Savannah-themed recycling bins. Savannah Sanitation Director Gene Prevatt confirms the city is considering working with Glass WRX.
“We can take a product that we’re throwing away today, make some revenue off of it, and do right by our environment and extend the life of our landfill all at the same time,” Palumbo said.