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Glass recycling

Interesting story about recycling glass bottles from restaurants.

[Mark] Austin, 54, is the founder of We CAN Recycle, a Houston nonprofit that picks up empty bottles from local businesses and drops them at a glass recycling plant on the South Loop, where they’re sold to Longhorn Glass Corp. and melted to make bottles for Anheuser-Busch. A self-proclaimed old hippie, Austin loves the idea that pricey bottles of wine from Italy and France are transformed into frosty longnecks sweating on Houston bars.

“There’s just a huge need for recycled glass in this town,” he says.


t’s a smelly, dirty job, but he knows there’s a need for his service.

The city of Houston’s curbside recycling program doesn’t pick up glass, though residents can bring glass empties to neighborhood dropoff sites and depositories.

Waste Management will pick up glass from restaurants in roll-off containers, but customers typically have to pay a processing fee and a hauling charge.

Austin’s rates are reasonable. The most he charges to cart away bottles is $150 a month, and clients get tax credits for donating the glass.

I blogged about restaurants and recycling last year. I’m glad to see that Austin has as much business as he does, because the Houston Press cover story on which that post was based sure gave the impression that most eateries were unlikely to bother. I still think that it would make a lot of sense for the city to provide some kind of financial incentive for restaurants and other businesses to recycle, and I hope that as we continue to take steps to increase Houston’s participation in recycling programs that something like that gets a closer look.

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One Comment

  1. mark austin says:

    It’s a shame that so many operators just won’t spend a cent to recycle, yet along with the obvious environmental benefits come huge economic benefits. What people don’t realize about my program that all this material is processed and remelted in Houston, and every time the material changes hands it puts a little shot of money into the Houston economy. Landfilling the material is like tossing money away, both from a tax cost perspective and from removing the materials from the economic engine of Houston.