Since 2009, Ripple Glass has changed the way Kansas City residents and businesses have looked at glass. Before Ripple, glass collected for recycling was shipped to Oklahoma or St. Louis for processing. To build a successful program, Ripple not only constructed a local processing facility in Kansas City, it also created a collection network forresidents and businesses to conveniently drop off glass for recycling. Ripple launched in November 2009 with 50 recycling locations at grocery stores, liquor stores, major employers and other commercial locations. Today, Ripple boasts 100 glass recycling locations, and the Kansas City metropolitan area now recycles more than 20% of its empty bottles and jars versus less than 4% when the program started.
Businesses are recycling glass, too. Plate glass manufacturers separate their discarded glass for recycling, and bars and restaurants collect and recycle empty bottles from customers. More than 250 businesses are Ripple Glass Certified meaning they don’t trash their glass.
In the five-and-a-half years that Ripple has operated, it has diverted 144,250 tons of glass or the equivalent of 745 million Boulevard beer bottles. If placed end-to-end, these bottles would stretch nearly 92,000 miles, or enough to circle the earth more than 3 ½ times. Ripple’s processed glass is used in the manufacturing of fiberglass insulation and in the production of amber bottles (like Boulevard’s!).
Ripple Glass received a Stewardship Award for its regional glass recycling program at the 2015 Kansas City Industrial Council’s Sustainability Awards Breakfast.