Nightclubs, bars and restaurants go through a lot of glass that often ends up in the landfill.
When Blake King was working for a marketing company in Scottsdale as a nightclub promoter, he saw firsthand how much glass these establishments go through.
“Seeing the influx of bottles going in and out of the nightclubs, I asked the bartenders, what are you guys doing with this stuff? They said, ‘we just throw it away,’” King said. “So, that was kind of my lightbulb moment to figure out, is there a way to collect this material, but to create a business out of it as well?”
Video by Jesse A. Millard
King founded GlassKing Recovery and Recycling and his business grew as it partnered with local restaurants. He started working with only six establishments, picking up discarded glass bottles with a pickup truck and milk crates.
Now, King is working with about 150 restaurants in the Valley.
“For us, it was an opportunity to work with the owners of the restaurants, but help them accomplish their sustainable goals, which was to recycle more,” King said.
King said that nine out of ten times when he goes to an establishment, they’re sending glass to the trash.
He’ll receive un-needed bottles from breweries, used beer and alcohol bottles and a whole lot more to divert from the landfills for reuse.
King plans to expand his operations into Louisiana later this year.
He’s also starting to recycle windshields from cars. The GlassKing warehouse is filled with piles of windshields that will eventually be recycled for a variety of uses, such as fiber glass installation, landscaping material and more, he said.
When King started GlassKing in 2015, it would take his company about four months to fill up a ten-ton container with glass. Now, GlassKing fills two ten-ton containers of bottled glass a day.
“You can see the impact of working with these local establishments, keeping the program alive, making sure we add more restaurants, sustainable partners,” King said.