Starting Tuesday, you will no longer be able to place glass bottles and jars in your blue curbside bin provided by Dalton Public Works. Too many workers faced injuries from handling glass and transporting the glass costs the city thousands in repairs to the trucks. Now that you can’t just put your glass in the blue bin, what can you do?

There are four convenience centers in Whitfield County. The Martin Luther King Jr. Convenience Center in the city is at 1924 M.L. King Jr. Blvd. and is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, giving you multiple options to recycle your glass. Recycling at convenience centers is free for all residents. When you enter, just ask the attendant at the front to point you towards the recycling station. There, each material is sorted and there will be a large can labeled for clear, green and brown glass bottles and jars. Make sure to put your glass into the right color and then you are done.

Glass recycled in Dalton and Whitfield County is used to make various items depending on the color. The brown glass is remolded and turned into perfume and cologne bottles. The green glass is used for fiberglass insulation. The clear glass has one of the best recycled stories. Our clear glass is sent to Atlanta where it is formed into new bottles. They then journey to Louisiana where they are filled with hot sauce. Eventually, they make their way back to Atlanta and even to Dalton on our grocery store shelves.

All of these products are great, but are they worth you taking the extra trip to recycle? Yes! For one, all of our products remain in Georgia. For each item you recycle, you create seven jobs in our state as opposed to when you throw an item in the trash where you create only one job. Secondly, glass is a valuable resource when recycled and provides more benefits to the planet than raw material.

Recycling glass produces major energy savings. Recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than raw material. The amount of energy required to make glass from scratch is 40% more than that needed to recycle it. Recycling one glass bottle can produce enough energy to power a lightbulb for four hours.

Recycling glass conserves important natural resources. One ton of recycled glass saves 1,300 pounds of sand. Though sand seems like an endless resource any time we head to the beach, we are actually running out of the sand needed to make glass. We have to use sand from beaches, near rivers and under the sea because of its angular nature. We go through 50 billion tons of this sand every year. We cannot use sand from the desert instead because it is different on a microscopic level due to erosion. The best way to conserve the sand we do need? By recycling your glass.

Glass recycles endlessly without losing quality or purity. A recycled glass bottle is no less durable than one made of raw materials. Before taking your recycled glass bottle to a convenience center, you can reuse it safely as well. There is debate about how safe or unsafe it is to reuse plastic due to the leaching of chemicals, but glass can be reused endlessly until you are ready to recycle it.

So, is it still worth it to you to recycle your glass? If you enjoy your summer beach vacation, you should think so. Make sure to take your glass bottles and jars to the nearest convenience center instead of in your curbside bin from now on. Know every time that you make the extra trip, you are creating jobs, saving energy and saving your favorite beach or river.

Amy Hartline is the recycling and education program coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Have a recycling question? Contact her at (706) 278-5001 or at ahartline@dwswa.org.

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