Recyclers typically do not want glass for several reasons. First, the market for recycled glass is poor to non-existent in most parts of the country. Second, glass breakage and cross contamination at material recovery facilities leads to increased processing costs and increased contamination of other recyclable materials, thus lowering the value of these commodities. While many communities are continuing to instruct their residents to place glass bottles and jars in single-stream carts, some communities have opted to discontinue glass collection in their recycling programs.
Currently, it costs from $10 to $40 a ton across the country to send collected glass materials to cullet processors. Given that glass accounts for almost 5% of the municipal solid wastestream and that state and local agencies have set ambitious zero waste goals, many agencies are not yet ready to give up on glass recycling and have developed other models.