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.
Now thanks to The St. Vincent de Paul Society and Vetrazzo, chipped or otherwise unsellable glassware is collected in blue barrels for bi-monthly pick up. The quantity is relatively small but it is another example of the community, and creativity, supported by Vetrazzo in effort to keep recyclable glass out of the landfills.
On a side note, I have the pleasure of carpooling 4 days a week with Melissa, also known as Vetrazzo's Sustainability Officer or Waste Cop, if you will. At least one ride a week Mel will start to brainstorm a new way she thinks Vetrazzo can step up its game and cut down its waste. I'm not kidding when I say due to her passion we have barely avoided a number of fender benders when she gets on a roll... or sees a tire tread on the side of the freeway she could turn into art.
Recently with the help of Vetrazzo VP of Manufacturing, John Sabol, Melissa was able to work out a partnership to recycle a previously un-recyclable by-product of the Vetrazzo manufacturing process. Their efforts will save Vetrazzo money and keep our manufacturing waste out of the landfill. More on this and the rest of the Vetrazzo path to sustainability through responsible manufacturing in an upcoming blog...