Partnerships Grow Chicago Bar and Restaurant Glass Recycling Pilot

Don’t Trash Glass Partnership brings together the Glass Recycling Foundation, GlassKing, Constellation Brands, Lakeshore Recycling, and Strategic Materials

Brands and key players in the glass recycling industry unite for the Don’t Trash Glass Program (DTG), collecting glass containers at Greater Chicago area bars and restaurants to be recycled into new bottles, fiberglass, and more.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to pilot Don’t Trash Glass in Chicago; the need is clear, and partnering with Corona, GlassKing, LRS, and Strategic Materials shows the value of partnerships across the industry,” said Scott DeFife, president of the Glass Packaging Institute and Glass Recycling Foundation.

The DTG program provides an opportunity for glass-intensive retailers, like bars and restaurants, to divert glass from the landfill so that it can be recycled.  Glass is endlessly recyclable and too many bottles end up in landfills due to lack of access to recycling programs. The goal is to create a self-sustaining program that will be scalable in other parts of the country. 

The initial eight-week pilot is funded in part by the Glass Recycling Foundation in partnership with Legacy Marketing and Constellation Brands. On Memorial Day weekend, Corona’s Protect Our Beaches kicked off the public outreach phase of the pilot at several Chicago venues. The Corona Crusher machine demonstrated how glass could be recycled into material for beach restoration – just one application of glass repurposing in certain areas. The DTG allows for more bottles to be collected and recycled into new bottles, the highest and best use.

The GRF asked GlassKing, a glass recycling collection hauler out of Phoenix, Arizona, to bring their Don’t Trash Glass program to Chicago. “We are thrilled about this partnership and the impact of diverting and recycling glass, creating a full circle for recycling right in the Greater Chicago area,” said Rose King, chief operating officer of GlassKing.

GlassKing’s strength understanding the intricacies of the logistics is critical for an area without a robust commercial glass recycling system. Two of the key challenges were solved with the addition of partners LRS and Strategic Materials (SMI) joining the initiative.

“LRS is very excited to be a part of this pilot outreach program to get more people educated on the importance of recycling glass and encouraging more businesses to recycle in Chicagoland,” said LRS CEO, Alan T. Handley. “Our Heartland Recycling Center handles more than 110,000 tons of high-grade residential and commercial single-stream recyclables and sorts, separates and allocates over 20 tons of waste per hour and will be a great facility for the collected glass bottles to be recycled.”

Glass bottles and containers collected for the Don’t Trash Glass Program will become new containers, fiberglass, or other uses. GlassKing will bring the collected glass to the LRS facility, which is one of the Midwest’s premier single-stream recycling facilities.

Strategic Materials is the largest glass processor in the United States, including a location in Chicago. Their process separates and cleans glass to be sold to bottle and fiberglass insulation manufacturers, creating full recycling circularity.

“Bar and restaurant collection programs are a great way to divert more glass from landfill and into the local circular economy,” said Laura Hennemann, Strategic Materials vice president of communications. “The glass bottles in this program will be enjoyed, collected and recycled all within the Chicagoland area, and back as a new bottle in less than 30 days.”

To find out more about the Chicago Don’t Trash Glass program check out Don’t Trash Glass

About Glass Recycling Foundation:

The Glass Recycling Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was founded in April of 2019 to provide and raise funds for localized and targeted assistance, demonstration, and pilot projects that address gaps in the glass recycling supply chain across the United States.

The Glass Recycling Foundation works closely with the Glass Recycling Coalition, an organization that has championed glass recycling education, best practices, and technical support for communities, in identified targeted areas. The organization has focused on opportunities to make an impact on glass recycling on a local-level, and GRF will support these efforts for scalable projects.

About GlassKing:

Family owned and operated since 2015, GlassKing takes tremendous pride in providing effective glass recycling programs for valley businesses and residents throughout the valley. Arizona natives, with over 60 years of family heritage, we are leading the way in glass recycling programs and pioneering a new culture of environmental sustainability. Join the movement today and become one of our newest sustainable partners! #DontTrashGlass

About LRS:
LRS is North America’s fifth-largest privately-held waste and recycling company. For more than 20 years, LRS has specialized in providing comprehensive, fully integrated waste diversion, recycling and portable services for hundreds of thousands of residential and commercial customers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. Diversified and growing exponentially, LRS offers commercial and residential waste and recycling, roll-off container services, C&D recycling, portable restroom rentals, municipal and commercial street sweeping, mulch distribution, on-site storage and temporary fencing. LRS owns and operates 28 facilities, safely deploys a fleet of fuel-efficient trucks, and thrives on the passion of nearly 1,400 full-time employees. The company processes more than 3.5 million tons of waste each year, providing safe, innovative, sustainability-driven services to clean and beautify the cities, neighborhoods and communities it serves. To learn more visit

About Strategic Materials

With a 125-year history, Strategic Materials, Inc. (SMI) is North America’s most comprehensive glass recycler, with nearly 50 locations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. SMI is a trusted partner to cleaner, more efficient glass production, providing customers and suppliers with economical and environmentally viable products and solutions. For more information visit