Economic fallout: Anchorage suspends glass recycling

The global market for recycled materials is bad right now. There are gluts of everything from cans to paper, but in Anchorage, where recycled glass has been piling up for months, the issue isn't global, it's local.

Recycling glass here has always been a problem. It costs too much to ship it out of state. And now most of the local market has dried up.

So starting Monday, glass recycling will no longer be available in Anchorage. Everyone's bottles will end up in the landfill because no one has been able to figure out how to use recycled glass and make a profit.

EK Industries, the local company that has been accepting all glass turned in for recycling, makes several types of sand-like materials, used for blasting and as a bed for radiant in-floor heating, explained Jeanne Carlson, the city's recycling coordinator. But there are not enough takers for those products to use all the glass collected.

A significant market for glass was the Alaska Railroad, which bought a ground glass compound to use as traction sand, according to spokesman Tim Thompson.

After a year of testing, it turned out the sand didn't work in the winter.

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