By Kim Lux
North East Township ended its glass recycling collection in October 2018 as part of recycling changes set forth by The Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development.
Now, a new Erie-area business will be holding a pop-up glass container collection event on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the township building, 10300 W. Main Road.
The pop-up event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The collection will be only be for food- and beverage-grade glass containers.
Bayfront Glass LLC was started by Nicholas Bruno, managing director, and John Nowakowski III, technical director.
After months of research the pair launched their collection and processing system that will turn donated glass into furnace-ready cullet, which will be used to make new glass materials.
“We started to research closed loop, bottle-to-bottle recycling and we found there is a high need for furnace-ready cullet,” Bruno said. “The cullet is crushed glass used by glass container manufacturing plants.”
Bayfront Glass will be producing the cullet for the Ardagh Group, a glass manufacturing plant in Port Allegheny, Pa.
We’ve designed this system with Ardagh to meet the needs of Erie County,” Bruno said.
The Bayfront Glass processing facility is located at 953 E. 12 St., Erie, but Bruno said they are not ready to receive collections on site yet.
Instead, the company will hold several pop-up events like the one in North East for the first few months.
“Right now, we’re planning on hosting the pop-up collections for about six to nine months and then establish permanent drop-off sites in several municipalities,” Bruno said.
All acceptable items for the collection event must be rinsed with no food residue. Metal and plastic caps and lids must be removed. Labels and neck rings are OK and can remain on the item.
No window or mirrored glass, tempered glass, light bulbs or other glass materials will be collected.
“This pop-up event has been organized in cooperation with North East Township,” Bruno said. “We will be holding additional collections in other municipalities shortly.”
Bob Mazza, owner of Mazza Vineyards and a North East Township supervisor, encourages local residents to participate in the collection event.
“There are a lot of benefits in terms of the value of glass,” he said. “I think there is a better use for it than throwing it in the landfill.”
Mazza said he is happy to hear that not only the residents of North East but the local businesses will have a way to recycle their glass again.
“This is the right thing to do,” he said. “Lake Erie Wine Country, and the wineries in the North East area, were upset with the situation in terms of the lack of recycling opportunities. We’re all about sustainability and the environment as winery owners.”
He added that Bayfront Glass has taken an unfortunate situation and turned it into an opportunity for growth.
“Something good has come out of this situation,” he said. “A business has been started and they are going to create some economic impact, employ some people and solve a problem. We’re happy to work with them.”
For questions, or more information on the pop-up events, email Bayfront Glass at email@example.com or call the North East Township office at 725-8606.
Bayfront Glass has also set up a GoFundMe campaign to defray start-up costs. The company’s goal is to raise $60,000.
“We’re not looking for handouts, but we need funding for additional equipment and operational costs,” Bruno said.
A link to the GoFundMe page can be found on the business’ Facebook page — www.facebook.com/BayfrontGlass.