EcoGlass Recycling, Inc.
only licensed domestic glass-to-glass recycler left,”
said Fred Robbins, general manager of EcoGlass Recycling.
“We’ve lost a lot of competitors.” Robbins
has been the general manager for the past two years and
said that the company itself is only about five years old.
Yet, they’re recycling close to a million pounds a
EcoGlass specializes in
recycling televisions and computer monitors, receiving them
from other businesses as well as the federal government.
CRTs and TVs come in by the truckload, with customers delivering
rather than EcoGlass making pickups. While it’s unusual
for a customer to show up with a single TV or monitor, Robbins
said that he’d take those as well.
Robbins explained that
the system they use for recycling is “a little bit
of both” when it comes to hands-on versus automation.
The units are “cleaned” first, until just the
tubes are left for crushing into the approximately two-inch
pieces. Most of the 45 EcoGlass employees are doing the
disassembly and processing work.
Customers are issued certificates
of destruction for the CRTs and TV. “We don’t
re-sell any of the monitors, we don’t re-sell any
of the TVs,” Robbins said. “We do exactly what
we say we do.”
Robbins noted that there’s
nothing wrong with re-selling used equipment, if that’s
what a company tells its customers. But that’s not
what EcoGlass is set up to do – the company’s
goal is to recycle everything that comes in.
Plastic, metal and wood
are recycled like normal scrap, but the glass needs to be
handled differently because of the lead content. Right now,
all of the glass cullet goes to an LG Phillips facility
where the glass is used to make new video displays.
EcoGlass is also looking
into new markets for the material, and is “trying
to work things out with Samsung,” according to Robbins.
He noted that with the volume of glass they are recycling,
and with the company’s growth, he expects that they
will need new markets for the material.
“It’s a new
industry,” Robbins said, “It sometimes feels
like not everybody knows about it.” In the years Robbins
has worked for EcoGlass, he noted that the process has stayed
the same, but growth has been steady as far as adding people.
“We’re looking into a process that can do LCDs
and plasma displays,” he added. More automation of
the process is also a possibility.
Robbins said that one
thing that surprised him about the business is that “it’s
somewhat backward,” in the sense that it’s harder
to get the product than to sell it. The market for the cullet
and other recyclables is easy to find, “the tough
part is getting the customer on the recycling end,”
he said in part, because “people don’t want
to pay to get rid of things.”
However, people are beginning
to understand the need for properly recycling hazardous
materials. With CRTs and TVs, a big problem is that “lead
is encapsulated in the CRT glass,” and if the glass
is broken, lead could leach out and contaminate soil and
The lead in the glass
means that EcoGlass can’t operate like glass recyclers
who crush bottles and other “normal” glass products.
Besides environmental concerns, lead poses health issues,
Robbins noted that EcoGlass
is inspected weekly by the Department of Environmental Protection
and by the Department of Health, and there have never been
While Robbins may not
have been looking for a career in recycling when he left
the military, he said that he enjoys what he’s dong.
“It’s not the same every day; there’s
always something new going on.”
As far as the company,
he hopes that customers will recognize EcoGlass for its
“environmentally sound CRT recycling.”