HANCOCK COUNTY — Don’t throw away that empty jelly jar. It just might become part of the insulation in someone’s home.

Recycle Hancock County has collected roughly 4½ tons of glass over the past 10 months in a partnership with Knauf Insulation of Shelbyville, which uses the glass to create its fiberglass insulation products.

The glass recycling partnership was made possible through a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which granted Recycle Hancock County $15,300 to purchase roll-off containers to collect the glass at the Republic Services transfer station at 266 S. Franklin St. in Greenfield.

Knauf transports the glass to Strategic Materials in Hartford City, where it is crushed and prepared to be transformed into insulation.

While individuals or businesses may pay for private glass recycling, this marks the first free public glass recycling option for the community.

Knauf contributed the $5,000 for the matching grant.

The glass collection bins were put in place last June, when the recycling program went into effect.

Since then, roughly 4 ½ tons have been collected, with a portion of funds for the sale of the glass coming back to Recycle Hancock County for ongoing education efforts.

 A long-awaited glass recycling program is coming to Hancock County at the Republic Services Greenfield Transfer Station. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

“The more glass we collect the more we get for that service,” said Allender, who has been making an extra effort to promote the county’s recycling programs in celebration of Earth Day, which is April 22.

She’s also promoting the county’s biannual collection event April 27 at Elanco in Greenfield, where residents can safely dispose of hazardous waste, paint, electronics and documents for a nominal fee.

Allender said any type of recycling or collection event is a great way to reduce the amount of trash that goes into landfills.

“Anything we can do to prevent items from going into landfills is wonderful because once trash ends up there it’s there to stay forever,” she said.

Allender said she was approached by Knauf to start the free glass recycling program because the company has struggled to obtain enough glass locally to keep up with demand for its insulation products.

“Glass is one of those items that can be recycled over and over and over again, and it doesn’t break down the integrity of the glass. If you were to make new glass jars from recycled glass, they would be just as strong as virgin glass jars would be,” she said.

Allender called the partnership with Knauf a win for the company as well as the local community.

“We’re very excited to take part in this glass recycling partnership with Knauf. It’s not very often that you can recycle and know exactly what the material you’re recycling is getting turned into,” she said.

Plus, the insulation Knauf creates can further benefit the environment by helping to keep homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Allender said those pitching recyclable glass into the collection don’t need to remove labels. Only bottles and jars are accepted, and must be free of metal caps or lids. Glass items should be placed directly in bins and not contained in plastic bags or boxes.

“The glass that we’re taking is food-grade jars and bottles. We don’t take window glass or glass shelves or decorative glass. Sometimes those types of glass have different things added to them, so we’re looking for just food grade jars and bottles,” she said.

The free glass recycling program is open to all Hancock County residents, but not businesses. Glass can be dropped off during regular business hours at the Franklin Street transfer station, in the designated bin at the third building on the left inside the south entrance.

Businesses that wish to inquire about free glass recycling options should contact Allender at [email protected] or 317-526-8723.

She’s also gearing up for the annual Recycle Hancock County collection drive on April 27 when county residents can drop off waste at Elanco in Greenfield, at 2500 Innovation Way, one stoplight north of I-70 off Ind. 9.

The following items can be dropped off between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a nominal cost, payable by cash or credit card only:

Hazardous waste — $5 per carload

Electronics — $5 per carload of any electronics, not including TVs

TVs smaller than 32” and computer monitors — $5 each

TV 32” and larger — $10 each

Projection screen TVs — $20 each

Document Shredding — $3 per box

Car tires — $4.50 off rim, $5 on rim

(First two car tires off rim are free)

Latex Paint — $1/quart, $2/gallon, $5/5-gallon

Donations of shoes and expired non-perishable foods are also accepted at no cost.

For more information, visit RecycleHancockCounty.com or call 317-462-7605.