Bham area’s only curbside glass recycling program is suspended

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

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 

Bham Recycle
Bales of recyclables at Birmingham Recycling and Recovery in Avondale. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

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.

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

Kinetic Recycling
Photo via Kinetic Recycling

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?

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

You can drop-off limited amounts of glass at local Target Stores. Make sure to inquire first before you visit.

For all the news around Birmingham, follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and sign up for our FREE newsletter.

Pat Byington
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.

Articles: 2428