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Waco's glass recycling program begins Thursday

The city is excited to "paint the town purple" as it celebrates with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

WACO, Texas — It's time to start painting the city purple!

The City of Waco, in collaboration with Glass 4 Good, The O-I Plant, Pernod Ricard and Strategic Materials, is launching it's glass recycling initiative. They're putting purple glass recycling bins in each of the 5 districts in Waco. 

"Essentially, we're finally able to bring access for glass recycling to all of Waco, so all districts will have access to the glass recycling," Keep Waco Beautiful Executive Director Carole Fergusson said.

The project has been a long time coming. Ashley Millerd was once the Executive Director at Keep Waco Beautiful while the organization was trying out a pilot project with glass recycling.

"It was in 2017 when I was still at Keep Waco Beautiful," Millerd, who is now the Outreach Manager for The City of Waco Solid Waste Department, said. "And we started this pilot program and just you utilize one block on Austin avenue to see if we if there's an interest to even collect glass."

That pilot program ended up doing quite well. Millerd said they started out collecting once a month, then once a week  and eventually began collecting glass two times a week, totaling up to more than 14,000 pounds of recyclable glass.

Of course, the pandemic hit and put a pause on plans, but now, after all that time and planning, the recyclable glass project Millerd has been trying to put together is finally here.

"It's really important for us here in Waco because we are running out of landfill space," Millerd said. "If we can keep the glass here in our local economy and turn it back into a product. Everything stays in here. So it's a closed loop system. And it's honestly the first material that have been able to do that."

Fergusson says there's added incentive to recycle glass since United Way of McLennan County will be able to provide for hunger relief and other charitable measures based on recycled glass.

"A donation will be made to United Way of Waco McLennan County who fights for many things like hunger, financial security, health and education," Fergusson said.

Currently, there is only one place to recycle glass in all of Waco, but by the end of 2023, each of the five districts will have a been making glass recycling available to so many people.

Millerd says it's an awesome feeling to see her dream come true and she's excited for what's ahead for the city.

"I am so proud. I'm so proud. Having the ability and the patience and the motivation to make an idea a reality is huge for me. And if I could just walk away with that for the rest of my life, I'll be very proud," she said.

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