BG nears break through on glass recycling solution

A woman drops off recycling items in Bowling Green.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Don’t throw away that glass quite yet.

Bowling Green is reportedly within days of announcing a new recycling solution for glass. Without revealing the name, Mayor Dick Edwards said at Monday’s City Council meeting that an agreement is close with a “world headquarters” of a company in the glass industry in Perrysburg – presumably Owens-Illinois.

“We’ve gotten the attention of one huge partner in the world market,” the mayor said.

“We’ve had continuing discussions,” Edwards said. “We’re wanting to make sure we stay in the glass recycling business.”

Last month, the Bowling Green Recycling Center announced that effective immediately, the facility would no longer be accepting glass. This applies to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, plus the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County.

City officials contacted Bowling Green State University’s recycling program, which contracts with Waste Management for pickup of recycling materials. But that did not provide an answer, so the city looked elsewhere.

Council member Sandy Rowland asked Edwards if city residents should just hold onto their glass recyclables a little while longer. The mayor replied that if possible, they should store them a bit longer.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “People are interested in recycling.”

City officials realize that glass recycling has been a costly operation for some time. However, paying for glass to be landfilled isn’t cheap either – with dumping costs at about $40 a ton.

The recycling center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton to ship the glass, for which it was paid $25 a ton. Late last year, the Dayton company raised its shipping costs to $40 a ton, and cut its payments to $10 a ton.

The BG center then found a company in Sylvania to take the glass at no cost.

However, that agreement ended abruptly, leaving the Dayton site as the only option, said Ken Rieman, from the recycling center.

“It’s simple economics,” Rieman said, estimating the center shipped out 350 to 400 tons of glass a year. “We’ve been handling it at zero dollars. We carried it as long as we can – and probably longer than we should have.”

The Wood County Commissioners were asked to subsidize the glass recycling, since the county solid waste district operates satellite recycling sites throughout the county. The county declined.

“Unfortunately, it’s a losing proposition,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said last month. “We don’t see this as a wise use of money.”

After Monday’s council meeting, Edwards said the city has offered to provide a location for glass drop off and a lift in the city’s old salt shed off North College Drive.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, it was announced that Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson is planning to retire in January of 2018. The chief has done an “exceptional” job, with a “real strong pattern of leadership,” the mayor said. Sanderson has close to 40 years in the fire service.

Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley said the city pool will not be open on weekdays once schools are back in session – except for the splash pad on hot days from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., free of charge. The pool will be open on weekends during hot weather.

Otley also reminded council that a public meeting on the new building planned in City Park will be held Aug. 22, in the Veterans Building. An open house will be held at 5 p.m., followed by a presentation on the plans at 6 p.m. The drawings will then be on display in the community center for two weeks.

Otley also thanked the National Tractor Pullers Association for erecting a fence between the fair campgrounds and the city’s new athletic fields by the community center.

“That was a great neighborly thing to do,” she said.

In other business, city attorney Mike Marsh reported that multiple land transactions have been completed – an annexation to the Wood Bridge Business Park, land given to the senior center for a new site, and land traded with First Presbyterian Church to allow for more parking at the senior center.

Marsh said that city surveyor Ken Taylor saved the city thousands of dollars in surveying costs by doing the work himself.

City Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell reported that the microcystin levels in the city’s water reservoir are at a “non-detect” level. That is good news, he said, since the microcystins lead to algal blooms.

The water treatment plant is using its new aeration system, which disrupts reproduction of algal blooms, O’Connell said.

Council member Daniel Gordon said while attending a national conference recently, multiple people mentioned to him Bowling Green’s state-of-the-art water treatment facility. “This has really put us on the map,” he said.

In other business, Public Works Director Brian Craft reported on construction projects in the city. Napoleon Road has been paved and seeding is complete. The Conneaut and Fairview intersection should be done before school starts. Waterline work at Manville and Third streets starts this week.

Council also discussed the requested transfer of a liquor permit for a new business, Rapid Fire Pizza at 852 S. Main St. There are no available liquor permits in Bowling Green, so the permit is being purchased from another community.

Council member Bob McOmber questioned the fairness to existing local businesses.

Marsh mentioned that the transfer requires the owner to make an economic development investment in the community. The restaurant owners have said they will spend nearly $500,000 on the site and hire 25 to 30 employees.

But McOmber and Sandy Rowland still questioned the resolution, which had its first of three readings Monday evening.

“I certainly have qualms about approving this resolution,” McOmber said.

“I’m going to be thinking about this very seriously,” Rowland said.

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