Skip to content

Working with Communities to Increase Glass Recycling

August 16, 2023

Green 2.0 Team

Working with Communities to Increase Glass Recycling

By Andres Vivero

Green 2.0 Summer Fellow Andres Vivero is owner and founder of LB Glass Pickup, a curbside glass recycling company operating in Northern Virginia. In this blog, Andres discusses the complications of glass recycling and how his business works to increase recycling accessibility within his community and beyond.

With the world in the midst of a climate crisis, it is important for all of us to look for ways to integrate sustainability into our lives. Recycling, when done correctly, is an important component of this. By diverting waste from our landfills and repurposing materials, we can make progress towards sustainability goals.

In my community of Falls Church, which is located in Fairfax County, Virginia, we do not have curbside glass recycling available. The county halted glass recycling in 2019 because when glass is commingled into single stream recycling, it can cause many problems regarding the purity of other recyclables. Specifically, glass can break and contaminate more valuable items like cardboard and metals. 

If a resident does want to recycle their glass, they have to leave their home and travel to one of the drop off locations, however this is not accessible to all people. Whether it be due to a lack of knowledge about these drop off locations, inconvenience, lack of a vehicle, or other barriers the vast majority of residents in Fairfax County do not take part in recycling their glass.

One day my neighbor posted a question on our neighborhood forum, asking if anybody would pick up and recycle their glass for them. I realized this could be a valuable service to the community and this idea would go on to be the start of my business, LB Glass Pickup.

The service is extremely simple and convenient. We provide every subscriber with an 18 gallon bin to hold their glass. Then, on the second and last Saturday of each month, we collect and recycle their glass so they don’t have to do it themselves. I started off only collecting glass from my neighborhood Lake Barcroft Which is where LB Glass Pickup got its name. However, we now service most of Fairfax County and all of Arlington and Alexandria counties.

Throughout this entire process, I have found it important to work with the community directly to find out what they are looking for in terms of glass recycling, whether that be how big the bins should be or how often pickups should take place.

Previously, we only offered once-a-month recycling. After speaking with more customers we introduced twice-a-month pickup, which has been very popular. By servicing both single family and multi-family properties we have been able to bring convenient glass recycling to everyone. As of now we are providing glass recycling to a combined 700 condo units.

Overall the residential curbside glass recycling program has been a success, I am proud to offer a simple alternative for residents who can’t go out of their way to recycle their glass.

Keep in touch with Andres’ work on LinkedIn, and learn more about LB Glass Pickup here.