Got glass? Kinetic offers on demand curbside glass recycling service

Read Time 3 Minutes

Kinetic Recycling
Brandace and Michael Wilson owners of Kinetic Recycling. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

I have a confession to make. Since recycling glass has been nearly non-existent in the Birmingham metro area for sometime now, all of my beer and wine bottles and pasta sauce jars end up in the garbage can. As a lifelong recycler, it’s downright painful.

Thankfully, the guilt I feel throwing away my glass bottles and jars is all going to change when I sign up for the new Kinetic Recycling  on demand curbside glass recycling subscription service. 

That’s correct. Glass recycling is back in Birmingham.

A Great Idea

Kinetic Recycling
Unlike traditional refuse collection, where large trucks go up and down every street to pick up waste/recycling, Kinetic’s model allows subscribers to schedule pick-ups on demand through the website.Photo via Kinetic Recycling

Earlier this month, I sat down with Kinetic Recycling’s founders Michael and Brandace Wilson. 

They told me how they came up with a new way to recycle in the Magic City and surrounding communities.   

“We were hauling our glass bottles and jars to Target as long as we could remember,” said Michael. “ All the glass would pile up in a bin in our dining room. We’d put it in the car and it would roll around there for a few days. Then, when we finally got to Target, most of the time their bins were full. So, there we were jamming glass in there.”

Brandace added, “We thought there has got to be a better way. We saw a need. Are there other people like us? Is there an opportunity to do something good for the community and also turn it into a profit –  a service.”

That’s why they established Kinetic Recycling

Uber Recycling – How It Works

Kinetic Recycling
Kinetic Recycling Residential bins for subscribers. Photo via Kinetic Recycling

Michael calls Kinetic’s service –  “flipping the traditional model on its ear.”  We’ve all seen it. Curbside recycling is done pretty much like garbage pick-up. There is a designated day that never changes with big trucks rumbling by on your street.. 

Kinetic operates like Uber with a few twists:

  • You subscribe to the glass recycling program 
  • A  bin is provided 
  • When the bin is full, like an Uber or current on-demand models, you tell Kinetic via your phone you are ready for a pick-up 
  • In about a day, they pick up glass to recycle, and here is an added bonus – replace the bin with a clean one  

A Need

The Wilsons planned to launch Kinetic Recycling on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day back in April. Obviously, a global pandemic foiled their plans. 

Undeterred, they started a soft launch in the fall to work out the kinks a few weeks before the program’s official opening date on November 15th – National Recycling Day

That never happened. During the soft launch or what they called the beta-testing period, the popularity of the service grew so fast via word of mouth, Kinetic never needed a grand opening of any kind. There was that much interest in glass recycling. 

Presently, Kinetic has 250 residential subscribers and a number of commercial customers. 

Service Area and the Future

Right now, Kinetic serves the Southside of Birmingham (Forest Park, Redmont and Highland Park neighborhoods), Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia Hills and Irondale. If you feel like you might be just outside the area, contact Kinetic,  just in case.

“We are now in an expansion mode,” said Brandance. “It is exciting that there is demand for this idea. I think there will be opportunities to integrate other services in the future.”

Interested in subscription? Visit Kinetic Recycling and sign up.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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