Bayfront Glass, LLC - Glass Recycling in NW PA

Bayfront Glass, LLC - with your help,  glass bottle and jar collection in Erie County, PA for recycling is back ... and we can accept window glass too!  See "How It Works" below.

We are registered as a PA Benefit Company (15 Pa.C.S. §§ 8891-8898 ), and we greatly appreciate your support for this new business model!

Glass Recycling Fact:
Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity - something few food and beverage packaging options can claim (source: Glass Packaging Institute ).

Costs:
We are seeking up to $15,000 in operational and small equipment procurement funds in order to continue our pop-up collection events through the end of this year, and transition to public drop off points, and launch a residential curbside glass collection service .

Operational costs include costs for running  pop-up collection events, public awareness campaign material, facility upgrades and rent, utilities, fuel, etc. Small equipment costs include the glass crusher we recently purchased, containers & carts, and other used equipment to keep us moving forward.

Since January 2018, we have invested countless hours and personal funds totaling over $20,000. After we registered Bayfront Glass, we personally funded our business account with another $14,000 cash. With this cash we have have purchased a truck and trailer, insurance and some bins for the color sorted collection system.

Processing Equipment:
Over the past several months, we learned more about glass processing and determined to postpone purchase of a large and expensive cullet processing line. Instead, we opted to purchase a small glass crusher to reduce our current volume, and begin selling this raw cullet to a glass processor in Mount Pleasant, PA.  At this facility, it will be processed further into furnace-ready cullet and sold to container manufacturers.

Investing in the small unit now, will allow us to build our collection systems without outgrowing our storage space, and determine whether or not we can collect enough glass on a monthly basis to warrant the expense of a full cullet processing line.



HOW IT  WORKS:

Bayfront Glass began collecting waste glass containers (i.e. bottles and jars) in July 2019 with at the Erie Blues & Jazz Festival. Since then we have provided service to two other festivals, and held six (6) community pop-up collection events! We will continue to hold these pop-up collection events throughout Erie County until the end of the year. Go to https://www.bayfrontglass.com/schedule-of-events for the locations we will be next.

The purpose of pop-up events are to:
1) Build collaborative relationships with local municipalities, businesses, non-profit, and other organizations
2) Raise public awareness on the strategic importance of recyclable glass containers in the economy, environmental impacts, and what types of glass are accepted
3) Identify the areas in the county that would support static collection points - that is locations were we could place glass only receptacles for public drop-off (see an example from Momentum Recycling here - https://utah.momentumrecycling.com/recycling-services-homes/#dropoff)

By the end of the year, residents and businesses will also be able to drop off their glass at our processing facility located in Erie.


This new recyclable glass container management system could become an industry best practice for expansion to other regions, and showcase Erie County as a national leader in glass recycling.
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Our Story:
My name is Nick Bruno, a native of Edinboro, and my name is John Nowakowski, a native of Erie. We both became concerned about the elimination of glass recycling in Erie County announced in September 2018.

The cessation of glass collection impacts the supply chain for the glass bottle industry, and increases the pressure on our environmental resources.  Some residents and businesses began to stockpile glass awaiting a new system to be implemented, while others started to reluctantly place glass bottles/jars in the trash.  Residents wrestle with mixed emotions as they are forced to throw away a recyclable material, business owners have faced higher costs to have larger dumpsters to accommodate the extra refuse, and the current and future environmental impacts are uncertain.

As we began looking into this, unbeknownst to each other, we came to the same conclusion ... the solution to the glass recycling problem lies within Erie County.

Through a mutual acquaintance, we met in February 2019 and decided to work together to try to solve this problem.  After several meetings with the Erie County Planning Department, local municipalities, universities and local businesses, and much research and consultation with professionals in the glass recycling industry, we designed a new system for waste glass container management in Erie County that would support closed loop bottle to bottle glass recycling.

To implement this new system, we formed Bayfront Glass, LLC and registered it as a PA Benefit Company (15 Pa.C.S. §§ 8891-8898) in June 2019.  As a Benefit Company, we are a business that operates in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.  Each year, we will prepare and publish an Annual Benefit Report describing our efforts to create public benefit during the preceding year. Some of our indicators will be:

1) Tons of glass containers diverted from the landfill
2) Tons of cullet sent to manufacture new glass containers (true recycling)
3) Number of partnerships and the results of those partnerships (municipalities, non-profits, schools)

We will develop additional meaningful social and environmental indicators during the first year of operations based on actual experience and findings.  For example, partnerships with schools could be fundraisers similar to the BoxTops for Education program.

More about Nick and John

Nick has over 20 years of professional experience developing and delivering innovative multi-sector projects and programs including 14 years living and working overseas with the US Peace Corps and USAID. He returned to his hometown of Edinboro in 2015 with his young family, and began working as an independent contractor researching and writing contract proposals for US Government overseas contract solicitations. As the Managing Director, Nick is now dedicating his time to building Bayfront Glass into a nationally recognized company supporting the glass recycling industry and the advancement of circular local economies.

A native of Erie and lifelong recycler, John recently earned his Master's degree from Penn State Behrend  where he was Manager of Outreach at Innovation Commons coordinating local entrepreneurs and industry in the development of new products and research in additive manufacturing. As the Technical Director, John is focusing on building highly efficient systems for glass collection and processing to make the Bayfront Glass system a nationally recognized best practice in the glass recycling industry.

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Resources and Articles for further reading:
Glass Recycling Coalition - https://www.glassrecycles.org/ 
Glass Packaging Institute - http://www.gpi.org/ 
Article – Why Glass Recycling in the US is Broken
Article – Americans are very bad at recycling. But only because we're not trying very hard
Article - As Costs Skyrocket, More US Cities Drop Recycling 

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Organizer

Nicholas Bruno 
Organizer
Erie, PA
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