This report has been contributed by Thais Ackerman, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Macon-Bibb County is authorized to recycle a range of repurposable materials from items like cardboard boxes to plastic bottles and caps.

However, glass materials are currently not permitted in recycling bins across the county.

We were "Just Curious": Why doesn’t Macon-Bibb County recycle glass?

Kevin Barkley, Macon-Bibb solid waste director, said glass is not a commodity that has been placed into single-stream recycling because it takes more effort to clean up when it is transported to the processing centers, which is not cost effective.

Single-stream recycling refers to a system in which all the items that a recycling center accepts are mixed in one container.

“The problem with glass is that every time you handle it, it breaks and as it breaks it gets smaller and smaller,” Barkley said.

When glass particles shatter alongside other single-stream items and it is difficult for the facility that handles the county’s recyclables, Advanced Disposal, to separate it from the other products.

“They’re having to just landfill that material, not to recycle it at this time,” he said.

Barkley said he looks forward to the Solid Waste Department developing its own center that separates the county’s glass materials to repurpose glass products.

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