Arlington’s glass recycling drop-off program continues to shatter expectations—surpassing 5 million pounds (2,500 tons) collected since its debut in 2019.
And the effort is officially paying off.
The County now receives $15 per ton for glass collected as the result of a new hauling and commodity contract with a Pennsylvania recycler.
Collection bins in Arlington hit the first million mark (500 tons) for glass jars and bottles eight months after the program started in April 2019, then doubled that haul only four months later.
Five drop-off sites are spread evenly across the County, meaning a glass recycling bin is only 2.25 miles from any Arlington home.
Glass was officially removed from the County’s residential “blue cart” recycling system two years ago because it was no longer being recycled by the single-stream processor. The removal also meant a potential increase in the commodity value of the remaining recycling stream.
Arlington Cashes in on Glass Drop-off Collection
When the drop-off program was launched as a partnership of Northern Virginia jurisdictions, the collected glass was crushed by Fairfax County for use in regional landscaping and infrastructure projects.
But in recent months, a private glass recycling company has been carting off Arlington glass for processing, taking advantage of the presorted bins with virtually no contamination. The company uses the recycled material to make new bottles, insulation, filter materials, sand material and other products.
Residents are urged to work with neighbors in combining trips to drop off glass. Bottles and jars that can’t be transported to a bin site should be disposed of in the black curbside trash cart; never the blue single-stream receptacle.
While Arlington’s five recycling drop-off sites successfully embrace Arlington’s sustainability goals, they should never be used for dumping. If there’s not a specific bin for something at a recycling drop-off site, please don’t leave it behind.