For Senior Designer Melissa Hawkins, some glass recycling programs just don't go far enough. An avid thrift store shopper, Melissa noticed a surplus of glassware that, if unsold, would end up in the landfill. "Due to concerns of contamination, municipal recycling programs only want bottle and jar-container glass. Container manufacturers buy the cullet, (crushed glass) from the recycling programs to remelt and mold into new containers. Contaminates, especially porcelain, can cause expensive equipment damage," explained Hawkins.
Inspired to recycle the multitude of “contaminates” or non-container glass, such as Pyrex cookware, dishware, and vases, Hawkins contacted several of the larger thrift store organizations. Phillip Arca, Executive Director at the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Oakland California, was willing to set-up a test program at their sorting facility.