You may know that Ripple Glass maintains roughly 100 purple bins in the Kansas City metro (we ARE based here, after all!), but did you know that Ripple also receives glass from 6 states and about 70 communities outside of Kansas City? Our farthest regional location is Dubuque, Iowa – 394 miles to the northeast – and our farthest reach south is Little Rock, Arkansas, 326 miles to the southeast. The states we currently serve include Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Arkansas, as well as Kansas and Missouri of course! This regional glass contributed about 45% of all our glass collected in 2015, and totaled over 16,000 tons!
So how does this work in other cities and towns? And why does all this glass come to us in Kansas City?
Well, the first thing to know is that when Ripple Glass began about 7 years ago, we had to build a plant here, where all the glass could be processed. The reason our Ripple model works so well, is because those purple bins you see around the metro area are hitched up and hauled to our plant in northeast KCMO (when they are full, of course) and once the glass is processed, most of that ground up glass gets hauled to Owens Corning in Kansas City, Kansas. We recycle our own Ripple Glass right here in Kansas City where Owens Corning manufactures insulation making our local built environment more energy efficient! Does it get any better than this?
But glass processing plants are few and far between. And our neighboring communities and states needed a place to recycle their glass as well, so Ripple Glass teamed up with municipalities who wanted to keep glass out of their landfills. They collect their glass in a variety of ways, and we send tractor trailer trucks to pick it up and haul it to our plant. Our list of regional communities is growing all the time and the amount of glass we get is growing too, with the largest volumes coming from Omaha Nebraska, Fayetteville Arkansas and Springfield Missouri, in 2015! And we receive a lot of glass from Iowa, where a “bottle bill” is in place, which means that consumers return glass beverage containers for a deposit. That glass is collected at distribution centers throughout the state, and much of it now comes to Ripple Glass!
But few purple collection bins exist outside of our Kansas City metro area, due to the restrictions of hauling roll-off bins over a certain distance. We often hear from frustrated recyclers in other cities and states, who don’t have good options for recycling their glass. They tell us how lucky Kansas-Citians are, to be able to dispose of glass so easily and conveniently (we strive to place containers within a 5 mile distance of any residence in the metro).
Ripple Glass is a model for efficient glass recycling that most cities and towns would love to have, and we’re getting more and more national attention for it every year!