Ever wonder if all that stuff you put in your recycling bin actually gets recycled? So did we.
As explained in this week's cover story, "Breaking Bad," none of the glass that Denver residents put in their purple bins gets recycled into new glass. Because Denver has single-stream recycling — which means that everything from paper to plastic to glass is thrown in the same container — the glass is too broken and contaminated to be made into new glass.
Clear Intentions is one of two new companies that wants to change how glass is recycled in Colorado. The Denver-based company has a service called Glass Valet that collects glass separately from bars and restaurants. It sells the glass to Rocky Mountain Bottle Company in Wheat Ridge, which melts it down and makes it into new bottles.
Clear Intentions wants to do the same thing with the glass that Denver residents now put in their recycling bins. The company has started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo to raise $13,625 for what it calls "Classy Glass Stations."
The stations are essentially big glass-only recycling bins that Clear Intentions hopes to place in grocery store parking lots in the Denver area. The idea is that residents would collect their used glass bottles and jars at home and then drive them to a Classy Glass Station and drop them off.
"The purpose of these stations is to collect glass from the community," says Clear Intentions marketing director Todd Lehman. "All of the glass going to those stations is going to get recycled."
The crew at Clear Intentions, including marketing director Todd Lehman (third from left).
The benefit for residents is in knowing that their used glass won't end up in a landfill. The benefit for Clear Intentions is that they'll make money selling that glass to a bottle manufacturer.
There's also a charitable component to the plan: Every time a station fills up with used glass, Clear Intentions will donate $1 to a local nonprofit. The nonprofit's name will be emblazoned on the station, so residents will know which organization they're supporting. For a $500 donation to the company's IndieGoGo campaign, contributors can fund their very own Classy Glass Station and choose the nonprofit it will benefit. For a $1,000 donation, contributors can fund two stations.
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Lehman figures the $13,625 will help fund 25 stations in all. The IndieGoGo campaign will run until August 7.
"We just figured that this is a fun way to raise funds for these stations," he says. "We hope that for people who decide to contribute to the campaign, it gives them a sense of ownership."
The city of Denver doesn't provide any glass-only drop-off recycling bins. But at least one other local nonprofit does. Jobs for Thy Neighbor has four glass-only drop-off bins located at churches in Denver, including Our Savior's Lutheran Church at 915 East 9th Avenue.