Kinetic Recycling, the only on demand curbside glass recycling program in the Birmingham area is suspending both its commercial and residential subscription services indefinitely on June 30.
Founded by Michael and Brandace Wilson, the couple delivered the news this past weekend in a letter to subscribers and on social media.
“The ultimate reason that we’re having to suspend service indefinitely is because our model was diversion-centric. This means we captured it (glass) and we fastened it together in bulk, and then had to transport it to the closest MRF,” Brandace Wilson told Bham Now.
Unfortunately, the closest MRF for glass is two and half hours away.
Too Far Away
An MRF is a materials recovery facility which receives commingled materials and separates out and bales the recyclables. There are MRFs in Birmingham, but they do not take glass. The closest facility that handles glass is in Atlanta. That’s the missing ingredient, according to Brandace.
The business is unsustainable without access to a local MRF that accepts glass.
Glass Recycling is Popular
One thing is clear—Birmingham-area residents want to recycle glass.
Over the past month, Kinetic was picking up three tons of glass a week. Approximately 51 tons of glass was recycled since the program launched in December 2020.
Glass Recyclers Need to Unite
In their letter to subscribers, the Wilsons made it clear—glass recycling is popular and they want to continue their efforts in some form to make glass recycling a reality in the Magic City.
From the Kinetic letter:
“Moving forward, we will shift our energy to focus on a different, more circular model: one that will require research and investment in building the infrastructure needed to process glass here, forging public/private partnerships with the City of Birmingham and other adjacent municipalities, and developing end-markets in which to sell the finished material locally. We believe that doing so will not only allow us to divert your glass in the future without fees, but also lessen the environmental impact by putting it back into the local economy.”
It is going to take a region-wide effort to make glass recycling convenient and sustainable in Birmingham. Meanwhile, Kinetics’ Brandace Wilson expressed her deep gratitude to her customers and fellow recyclers.
“We appreciate the support so much. It’s been such a pleasure serving our customers.We’ve been overwhelmed with the support, and we are so proud of our community. We’re certainly disappointed but, ultimately, we want to be able to provide a solution that’s sustainable long term. That’s just not something that our current model allows.”
Where Can You Recycle Glass in Birmingham?
You can drop-off limited amounts of glass at local Target Stores. Make sure to inquire first before you visit.