How One Local Businessman Turned an Empty Bottle into a Bright Idea 1

Did you know that recycling one glass bottle saves enough electricity to power a 100-watt light bulb for four hours? Hunt Magee, owner of KC Curbside Glass, understands this and is now shedding a lot of light on the glass recycling industry.

When he relocated to the Kansas City area from North Carolina four years ago, Magee soon came to realize that he could not simply toss his empty glass bottles, jars and other glass items directly into his recycling bin. A recycler by nature, he learned that, while one can drop off glass for recycling at any of the Ripple Glass locations in town, there was no pick up service available. As a simple gesture for the neighbors on his street, he initially began collecting their empty glass jars and bottles and offered to take them to the recycling compound himself. It wasn’t long before this neighborly act of kindness evolved into a full-blown business concept and now Magee oversees a business that to date has collected roughly 200,000 pounds of glass for recycling purposes…more than enough to give power to that proverbial light bulb of an idea.

He soon went from collecting the empty glass containers of his neighbors and created a glass recycling pickup business that snowballed from 50 homes in his own neighborhood to multiple places throughout Johnson County, including both residential and commercial pick up services. When he opened for business in January, 2013, he never imagined that his recycling habits could lead to a business that was truly a win-win for both the environment and the community.

Every other week, KC Curbside Glass will pick up empty glass bottles, jars and other glass items, which customers can toss into the beautiful blue bins, provided by Magee. When customers are finished with that beer bottle or pickle jar, they just toss it into the bin – label and all – and KC Curbside Glass will pick it up on a designated pick-up day for just $10 a month. It’s that easy. Even if there is just one glass bottle in the bin, Magee stands at the ready.

“We empty the bin and then deliver the contents to Ripple Glass, where they process the glass to reuse in fiberglass insulation and new bottles,” explains Magee, who also noted that glass, along with aluminum products, can be recycled endlessly.

“In the Kansas City metro area, only about 20 percent of the glass is currently being recycled,” he notes. “Before Ripple Glass started in 2009, only six percent was being recycled.”

Magee wants to see those numbers improve.

“I want to double that 20 percent figure,” he emphasizes.

Now serving Gardner, Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park, Stilwell, Shawnee and Spring Hill, Magee intends to expand his operations within the next year, with the anticipation of offering pickup services on the Missouri side.

A go-giver at heart, Magee has not only found a way to give back to the environment, but also to the community. Ten percent of his annual revenue goes directly to charity, including Harvesters, Infant Toddler Services of Johnson County and Interfaith Hospitality Network. KC Curbside also participates with numerous church and school fundraisers.

Even though Magee seems to possess the unwavering physical prowess of Superman, often hauling 6,000 pounds of glass each week, he is energized and revitalized through the knowledge that he is helping others.

“If I stopped what I was doing, I’d let people down,” he says with a smile. “This really makes me feel good.”

For more information or to sign up for service, visit KCCurbsideGlass.com or call 913.617.6401.