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Ripple Glass is ready to start Kansas City-area recycling program

Post Time:Oct 16,2009Classify:Company NewsView:402

Ripple Glass LLC, Kansas City’s first glass-crushing facility, is set to launch an area glass-recycling program.

Ripple Glass plans to roll out 60 glass-collection bins throughout the area on Nov. 2. Glass from the large purple bins will be collected and processed at a $3.5 million glass-crushing facility at 1642 Crystal Ave. The facility will begin operations as soon as enough glass is collected, which is expected to happen by mid-November.

Ripple Glass is a private venture founded by three Boulevard Brewing Co. executives: President John McDonald, CFO Jeff Krum and plant engineer Mike Utz. UMB Bank, owned by UMB Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: UMBF), and DST Systems Inc. (NYSE: DST) also are investors.

Ripple Glass told the Kansas City Business Journal in July that it would open the facility in November.

Krum said Wednesday that Boulevard saw itself as part of the problem, contributing about 10 million bottles to landfills each year in the Kansas City area, and wanted to do something about it.

“The principle we have with Ripple Glass is that it’s better to recycle and reuse than to have it end up in the landfill,” Krum said.

DST Systems CEO Tom McDonnell said he’s pleased to form a partnership with Boulevard to create Ripple Glass.

“We’ve all come together because we think this is a great solution to something no one likes to think about,” McDonnell said. “That (Kansas City) is recycling only 5 percent, while the rest of the United States is averaging 28 percent for glass recycling. This will be the first step, and it has the potential to address 20 to 25 percent of the glass waste. We think it will be a very successful venture. Now we need the city to look into its collective conscience and ask how they can participate.”

The Ripple Glass facility can process 5 tons of glass an hour and can expand to handle as much as 15 tons an hour, Utz said. The Kansas City area sends about 80,000 tons of glass to landfills each year.

The facility will collect recycled glass, crush it into a raw material called cullet and then sell it to companies such as Owens Corning Fiberglass Corp., which plans to make insulation out of it. Owens Corning has agreed to buy about 85 percent of the cullet produced at the plant.

Gale Tedhams, director of sustainability for Owens Corning, said that using cullet from Ripple Glass fits in well with Owens Corning’s strategy for creating sustainable products.

“By using recycled glass, it requires less energy and provides reduced greenhouse gas emissions, which makes for a cleaner process for making our products,” Tedhams said. “Recycled materials are highly valued by contractors building LEED-certified structures.”

Tom Coffman, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for Deffenbaugh Industries, said he is excited to be a part of a local solution to a local problem. He said that before Ripple Glass, all glass had to be hauled to St. Louis or Oklahoma, sucking the life out of previous attempts to introduce metropolitan-area glass recycling in Kansas City.

Source: kansascity.bizjournals.comAuthor: shangyi

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