What is the “Glass Isn’t Trash” Initiative?

The IRC recently secured a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management Recycling Market Development Board to increase glass recycling and improve the quality and quantity of glass headed to Indiana glass container manufacturers to make new glass containers and fiberglass.


Why Recycle Glass?

  • Glass makes up as much as 80% of waste from bars and infographic
  • Glass is infinitely recyclable
  • Recycled glass saves 30% in energy costs
  • Over a ton of natural resources are saved for every ton of glass recycled
  • Glass recycling and manufacturing markets provide thousands of Hoosier jobs

Why Should Bars & Restaurants Participate?

  • Diverting glass from the dumpster means less frequent pulls and cost savings – whether you pay per pick up or pay by weight
  • Collecting glass separately increases its recyclability and quality of feedstock sent to glass container and fiberglass manufacturers
  • You can join a growing community of green businesses in Indy and attract customers that care
  • Your employees will take pride in their sustainable workplace

Targeted Sites

The Initiative is targeting bar/restaurant districts in Indianapolis and surrounding counties.

Get Involved

If you are interested in participating in the Glass Recycling Initiative, know of a business who would be, or want to be a recycling champion in your bar or restaurant district, please contact IRC Staff Lead Emily Jackson and Program Lead Julie Rhodes.

What Will IRC Provide?

We understand the challenges bars and restaurants face when considering participation in any new effort: space limitations, staff turnover accompanied by ongoing and costly training, fast-paced work environments, late nights, and of course, a focus on meeting the bottom line.

Adding recycling to the to-do list may seem a bit overwhelming. The IRC is here to help you ensure success. We are here to support your efforts. We want to work with you to develop a no-cost glass recycling program tailored to your specific bar/restaurant’s needs.  If together we can identify a critical mass of entities that generate glass and a space to locate a container within your business district, IRC will provide the following to maintain a free glass program for your district:


Supplies & Materials

Publicity & Promotion

Coordination & Communication

  • interior slim-jim or other bins
  • exterior toters / rolling carts
  • exterior 10yd to 40yd container
  • signage for bins
  • educational materials


  • publicity in our press releases, social media, website, and public media announcement
  • promotional material to display in storefront
  • facilitation of all meetings
  • communication with hauler and restaurant re: pick-ups, contamination issues, etc.
  • trouble shooting, continued consulting, data collection, reporting
  • employee training
glass bin graphic

Visually appealing bins to locate in areas of high glass generation.


Project Partner


Strategic Materials, Inc. (SMI) is the largest glass recycler in the nation, and Indy is fortunate to call home to one of their processing plants. SMI makes glass into “cullet” which becomes the raw material for new glass products, like beer and wine bottles. SMI, IRC’s financial partner, is offering a free glass hauling service to increase the supply of glass to Indiana glass container manufacturing plants.