Galena, Illinois Goes Purple

When glass was removed from their curbside collection in 2017, the City of Galena, Illinois took some time to look at additional options to recycle glass. City Administrator, Mark Moran, and Galena Alderperson, Pam Bernstein championed the effort. When they found out the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency recently contracted with Ripple Glass to recycle their glass, the opportunity arose for Galena to partner with them to store the glass collected in Galena.

A local organization, The Galena Territory, donated the 25-yard bin and the City received funding for the purple paint and Ripple-branded decals through Ripple Glass’ Go Purple program. A local grocery store, Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly, agreed to host the purple bin, allowing residents to drop their glass off for free.

On January 3rd, 2020, the new purple glass recycling bin was placed at Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly and residents proved that the new glass recycling bin would not go empty. In less than 30 days, the bin was full of bottles and jars and ready for a local hauler, Montgomery Trucking, to haul the glass to Dubuque, where it would be stored.

But how does the glass get recycled, not just collected and stored? After the bin is full, Montgomery Trucking brings it to the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency. There, the glass is stored in a concrete bunker until about 25 tons of glass is collected. At that time, Ripple Glass sends a hauler to Dubuque to transport the glass to their processing facility in Kansas City, Missouri. At Ripple’s processing facility, glass is cleaned, sorted, crushed, and sized to meet the needs of their end-users. The brown (or amber) colored glass is sorted out, broken down into 2-inch pieces, and sent to a bottle manufacturer in Oklahoma where they make new beer bottles. The rest of the colored and clear glass is crushed down into coarse sand and sent to Owens Corning in Kansas City, Kansas where they melt it into fiberglass insulation.

You can find the glass recycling bin at Tammy’s Piggly Wiggly at 997 Galena Square Drive, Galena, IL 61036. Look for the purple bin! You can find all the other Ripple Glass drop-off locations here.

For more information on the glass recycling program in the City of Galena, visit their website here.

This is a great example of how hub and spoke recycling can work for communities. If you’re interested in setting up a glass recycling program for your community, please reach out to our Regional Program Manager, Josh Boyer, at