RIRRC has buried 13,000 tons of recyclable glass in the Central Landfill

PROVIDENCE, RI – Earlier this year, Rhode Island Public Radio broke the news that all the glass residents send to the curb for recycling actually ends up in the landfill. Our investigation showed it was the result of an amendment that was pushed through the General Assembly during the last session. RIPR provides an update on the story, showing how 13,000 tons of recyclable glass has been treated like any other piece of garbage.

Since the legislation became law on June 28th, the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation has sent approximately 13,000 tons of recyclable glass to the Central Landfill to be buried. Let me say that again: 13,000 tons of glass that could be reused or recycled has been treated like trash.

It took Rhode Island Public Radio several weeks and the pressure of a Freedom of Information request to get this number. But this practice of treating recyclable glass like trash isn't the landfill's choice. It had the option of using the glass as an additive to the daily cover material until the General Assembly passed that amendment banning the practice.

While the landfill has been forced to throw away the recyclable glass, it has also been trying to find a buyer for the product. The landfill has sent 45 tons of glass to Strategic Materials Incorporated in Franklin, Massachusetts, for evaluation. The goal is to try and get the recycled glass to a level of quality where Strategic Materials would accept it. Right now, the landfill is still struggling to generate a cleaner product.

And until that time comes, all the glass you put into your recycling bins will continue to be treated like any other piece of garbage.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@ripr.org.