Making Glass Recycling Fun

Although the modern recycling system was created about 40 years ago, a local company, GlassKing Recovery & Recycling,  is making recycling fun and new again. GlassKing founder Blake King noticed a need for glass recycling while working for a nightclub promotion company. He saw that glass beverage bottles were often not being recycled, and being determined to do something about it, he decided to start a business that could make a positive impact. In the first six months of operation, GlassKing prevented 300,000 pounds of glass from going to the landfill. Now two years in operation, GlassKing works with over thirty businesses of all types, malls, and the City of Tempe to recycle glass across the Valley.

Solving a problem

In metro Phoenix’s recycling system, glass, paper, and plastic are all mixed together. When the recycling truck picks up these materials, they are compacted which often causes the glass to break. Broken glass creates a hazard for the workers at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), who sort through the co-mingled materials. GlassKing solves this problem by offering glass recycling pickup service from homes and businesses. When someone recycles with GlassKing, large quantities of glass are removed from the recycling stream which creates a safer workplace for MRF employees.

When glass gets to GlassKing, it gets sorted by color. It is then sent to different companies around the valley. Glass is endlessly recyclable, making it a valuable commodity with steady demand, allowing GlassKing to continue to grow.  In addition to bottles, GlassKing also processes car windshields and other glass products.

Keeping sustainability in mind, GlassKingworks to keep their transportation emissions to a minimum. They schedule their route to be efficient and the collection bins that they provide have sensors on them which alert GlassKing when they are full.

Educating a New Generation

GlassKing is encouraging kids to recycle through their campaign “Sponsor the Kids, Sponsor the Future,” where they partner with local school districts. Reverse vending machines are placed at participating schools where students deposit recyclable materials and receive a coupon in exchange. Revenue from the recycling is donated back to the school, creating an incentive for both the students and the schools to view recycling as fun and rewarding.

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Future of GlassKing

After winning the "Small Business - Excellence in Recycling Award" from the Arizona Recycling Coalition, GlassKing has a bright future. They are excited to put Arizona on the map for recycling and to bring pride to the state. They currently offer their residential service in Tempe and will be expanding all over the Valley.

For residents interested in recycling glass with GlassKing, they will provide a bin for glass for three dollars a month and collect the glass monthly.  For businesses, GlassKing will work with them on an individual basis to figure out how much money they can save by recycling their glass. There are some cases where the waste provider will offer to subsidize the cost of GlassKing because it saves them money as well. A resident or business can get involved with them by calling (602) 278-4480. Find out more information about them on Facebook or their website.  

Written by Stephanie Hoyt.  If your business is interested has sustainable practices in place or if you would like more information on how to go about being more sustainable, email [email protected].