Kansas City Recycles

Kansas City—you know, the city where everything is up-to-date—has devised a creative solution to the problem that KC recyclers were not taking glass.

The solution: Ripple Glass, which provides a “closed-loop” recycling program for glass. It will sell its glass to Owens-Corning to be made into fiberglass. According to Greenability magazine (September-October 2009), 1 six-pack of glass bottles can be spun into enough fiberglass to fill the wall cavity between 2 studs. (I couldn’t find a search function on the magazine’s website, so if you want to read the article, you’ll have to find a paper copy.) An additional bonus: Owens Corning has a plant in Kansas City, so glass recycled in KC will also be repurposed in KC.

In other news from Kansas City, a company called InkCycle is offering a “zero landfill” guarantee on its recycled ink and toner cartridges. Even a well-recycled cartridge will eventually wear out, and since nobody usually wants them, they get thrown away after several uses. InkCycle, by contrast, is sending them to Lafarge cement company, where “Systech, a subsidiary of Lafarge, could use the plastic as fuel to offset the use of natural gas need to create heat to cook the cement” (from that same issue of Greenability mentioned above).

And finally, some possible greenwashing from Coca-Cola via RecycleBank, which gives me points for all the stuff I recycle through Waste Connections:

The Coca-Cola Company has invested more than $60 million to support recycling programs in the U.S., including building the world’s largest bottle to bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg. The Spartanburg plant is capable of producing 100 million pounds of recycled plastic for use in bottles each year. That’s the equivalent of 2 billion 20 ounce Coca-Cola bottles.

I don’t know what to think. I haven’t paid much attention to bottling companies’ efforts regarding plastic recycling in the last few years. The last time I checked, European companies required Coca-Cola to use a lot more recycled content in its bottles than it ever used in the United States. So, even though it had to walk the walk in Europe, it refused to do so in the United States.