October 31, 2022
Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management (TCRMM) now offers Tompkins County residents a drop-off option for glass recycling in addition to the well-established curbside pickup. Glass can be dropped off separately from other materials and can be recycled into new bottles and jars. Residents are encouraged to separate out glass containers that are clear, green, or brown and drop them off at the Recycling and Solid Waste Center (RSWC) located in Ithaca at 160 Commercial Ave from 7:00am-3:30pm, Monday – Saturday. Glass containers should be cleaned, and lids removed before being dropped off. The glass drop-off area at the RSWC does not accept Pyrex, drinking glass, ceramics, window glass, or hazardous waste containers.
Glass collected at the drop-off at the RSWC is transported to the TOMRA facility in Farmington, NY, where it is sorted. The sorted glass then travels to a bottle manufacturing facility in Elmira Heights or Auburn to be recycled into new glass bottles and jars. This is a great option for residents who want their material to go to the best possible end use.
Glass collected curbside is not recycled into new glass jars and bottles because it is mixed with other materials, causing it to be difficult to sort out, and has a higher contamination level. Therefore, glass collected curbside is crushed to reduce its volume and used as landfill cover instead of virgin soil (soil that has not been cultivated before). Landfills are covered daily to reduce the amount of water that gets into waste, control the release of offensive odors, and deter pests. Landfill cover is a beneficial use of glass collected curbside because it repurposes glass that would otherwise be wasted; conserves virgin soil that would be used in its place; and reduces emissions produced during mining of the virgin soil.