Greenville residents have not had any place to recycle glass since the city, county, and several other area municipalities stopped accepting it in its curbside recycle bins or recycle centers.
That will soon change — and the glass that is recycled could end up being used for custom countertops.
RAM Recycling started collecting glass from commercial clients this month and plans to add residential collection. RAM wants to have 100 commercial customers by the end of its first six months, said owner Rachael Martin.
The company is in discussion with Greenville County and the City of Greenville to have glass collection sites at their convenience and recycling centers, Martin said.
“An efficient glass recycling program will benefit the county at large and reduce costs for businesses and taxpayers,” she said.
Eventually, the company hopes to be able to expand its glass recycling business to neighborhoods if there are enough households willing to pay for collection, she said.
RAM will offer business collections of up to six times per week. It will collect residential glass five days a week.
Chris and Elizabeth Fisher, owners of Fisher Recycling in Charleston, have provided setup and operations guidance to RAM.
RAM will offer Fisher’s Glass Eco Surfaces products that use recycled glass in countertops, table tops, pool surrounds, fireplace surrounds, and other hard surfaces. RAM plans to build a similar manufacturing operation in the Upstate in late 2019.
Martin estimates that 20 percent of the glass Ram Recycling collects will be used in custom surfaces. The rest will be recycled through a company in Atlanta, she said.
“Glass is the only truly recyclable product,” Martin said. “On the residential side, it is a huge part of the waste stream. By weight, glass comprises about 30 percent of the waste stream. Being able to keep it out of the ground and reusing it would be big.”
In some cities, recycled glass has been used in sidewalks and as a replacement for sand and gravel.
Before the City of Greenville stopped accepting glass, it comprised between 12 and 20 percent of recyclable materials the city collected.