Fact Check: Recycled glass goes to the landfill

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Don’t recycle glass. It’s a waste of your time! That’s what we heard from a viewer who said it just goes into the landfill with the rest of the trash. Is that true? You might be surprised what News10NBC’s Nikki Rudd found out in her fact check report.

Most of us have a tote or a bin where we put all our recycling. It gets picked up at the curb, and a lot of it ends up at the Monroe County Recycling Center on Lee Road in Rochester. It’s run through a partnership with Waste Management.

"Our curbside recycling program has been around for 30 years," said Monroe County Environmental Services Director Michael Garland, P.E. "So we’ve got a lot of veteran recyclers."

News10NBC went to him to get answers about recycling glass.

"Glass is a challenge. Through our co-mingled recycling process, glass can become pulverized with different colored glass. It becomes co-mingled," Garland said. "It makes it much less marketable. There is not a demand for that material in our marketplace presently."

Wait. WHAT? So what happens with the glass a lot of us recycle?

"We’re finding an adaptive reuse or beneficial reuse of that glass for construction purposes. Whether it’s pipe bedding or road-based bedding out in our landfills," Garland said. "We need that material to be able to operate our landfill here in Monroe County."

So yes, the glass is going to the landfill, but it’s being used as construction material. Garland says recycling glass is an issue all across New York.

"The state recognizes the challenges with recycled glass, and is looking for ways to find a better end and use of that material," Garland added.

His advice? Keep recycling glass. Make sure it’s clean, dried and rinsed because it will be used for something.

Click here to learn more about the Monroe County Recycling Center.