Balcones Resources Goes for Gold in GRC MRF Glass Certification
Glass Recycling Coalition awards gold re-certification to the Texas-based facility
AUSTIN, TX (November 10, 2022) – The Glass Recycling Coalition (GRC) announced Balcones Resources as a recipient of a Gold-level certification for its MRF in Austin, TX. The Balcones Resources Austin MRF previously held a Silver-level certification since 2019, and with recent upgrades to its glass cleaning equipment, it was able to recertify at the highest level available from the GRC. Balcones Resources is the third gold certified MRF in Texas and the tenth MRF to hold this certification in the country. The Austin MRF is the second Balcones certified facility, with Single Stream Recyclers in Sarasota, FL also holding a gold certification.
“As this certification grows, it is evident that more MRFs are seeing the value and competitive advantage in producing higher quality glass from single stream recycling,” said Amy Uong from the GRC MRF Certification Committee and Sims Municipal Recycling. “Glass is endlessly recyclable, and the data shows that 90 percent of Americans expect to recycle it. Additionally, end markets are eager for this material, and this certification ensures quality standards are in place for MRFs across the country.”
The free certification program recognizes MRFs with additional equipment and operational procedures to clean up glass in both single- and dual-stream systems – producing more marketable and higher-quality glass.
In 2012, Balcones Resources opened its state-of-the-art, $25-million facility in Austin, TX. This MRF processes 60 percent of residential curbside single stream recycling as part of its contract with the City of Austin. They also service approximately 75 percent of Austin’s Class A office buildings, in addition to several corporate campuses, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers. Balcones Resources also operates recycling facilities in Dallas, TX, Taylor, TX, Little Rock, AR, Sarasota, FL, and is scheduled to open a new facility in San Antonio, TX in 2024.
The operations team at Balcones prioritizes glass recycling as part of the company’s commitment to a circular economy, and approximately 20 percent of their inbound material in Austin is glass. To produce the highest recovery rates possible, the MRF underwent a retrofit in 2019 to install a four-deck glass separator. Two years later, the team also installed a new air drum separator that removes fines and lights from the glass. Further, dedicated team members specializing in glass recycling test the glass multiple times daily to ensure its cleanliness. All these steps contributed to an output of almost 90% clean glass, and hence, the Gold-level certification.
“Achieving this certification is a testament to our mission at Balcones, which is to recover as many recyclables as possible. Austin, as a community, is very committed to recycling as much as possible, so we are meeting that demand,” said Mauricio Castelan, General Manager at the Austin MRF. “It gives us a competitive advantage too because it makes our glass more sought after.”
The GRC MRF Glass Certification program launched in the fall of 2019. In 2022, the glass certification criteria were updated to prioritize end market consistency and more thorough glass cleaning prior to beneficiation. Eligible applications are judged on their current MRF infrastructure and the results of a glass purity test that is aligned with ISRIs Three-Mix Specification. An independent committee scores applications and awards MRFs with either gold, silver, or bronze certification. MRFs holding this certification will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.