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When Beaver County waste haulers announced they would no longer accept glass for recycling, some area residents concerned about the environment got upset, said Holly Vogt, director of the Beaver County Department of Waste Management.
But Vogt was determined to find a solution to the problem of recycling glass, and in doing so also found a way to help those with vision problems in Third World countries.
Vogt announced on Wednesday that a new glass – and eyeglasses – recycling program will begin June 5.
The pilot program will continue each Wednesday on an indefinite basis for Beaver County residents only.
Hours of accepting certain kinds of glass for recycling will be from 8 to 11 a.m. just past the parking lot of the Bradys Run Park Ice Arena, 121 Bradys Run Road, Brighton Township.
Vogt said members of the Department of Waste Management will be on hand to educate and advise county residents on what kinds of glass are acceptable to the bottler that will recycle them. She declined to identify the company.
They will also make sure that the quality of the glass is acceptable for the recycler, such letting residents know if jelly jars are not completely rinsed out and therefore sticky and unacceptable.
“We will be able to do more customer service,” Vogt said.
“They do not have to be separated, but should be rinsed out,” Vogt said. However, the Department of Waste Management will not accept all glass.
The program will accept all colors of glass. Unacceptable for recycling will be cooking glassware such as Pyrex, window glass, mirrors, drinking glasses, stemware, ceramics and light bulbs.
Vogt said acceptable glass to be recycled can be categorized as food containers, such as jelly or spaghetti sauce jars.
“They can leave the lids on, and labels are OK,” she said.
The program is called Through Beaver County’s Lens because it is a partnership with the Beaver County Association for the Blind and will also accept old eyeglasses, reading glasses, and sunglasses, both prescription and nonprescription.
Residents should separate the eyeglasses from the glass containers, however. The eyeglasses will be used for eyewear for people in Third World countries, Vogt said.
“I thought (the idea) was fantastic because I’m all about partnerships,” said Teresa Lukes, administrative director of the Association for the Blind, which already partners with LifeSteps to do vision screenings of schoolchildren, while LifeSteps does developmental screenings.
The blind association collects eyeglasses for doctors who do mission trips and Mission Vision out of Cranberry. Both test the glasses for their prescriptions and sort them by prescription before taking them to Third World countries.
Eventually, Vogt said, the department may mainstream glass recycling along with its other recycled materials, which are accepted on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
But, said Vogt, for now, Wednesday mornings will be devoted to recycling the glass – and eyeglasses – that Beaver County residents no longer can use.
“We want to recycle glass, and we want to do it right.”