BG not giving up on finding glass recycling solution

Recyclables are processed at Bowling Green Recycling Center.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Bowling Green officials aren’t giving up yet on finding ways to recycle glass rather than send it to the landfill.

Last week, 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.

That did not sit well with city officials, who found out about the decision through an email after the decision had been made.

“Something like that, it would have been nice to be brought in a little earlier. It would have been nice to phase it in,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator for Bowling Green.

City officials have contacted Bowling Green State University’s recycling program, which contracts with Waste Management for pickup of recycling materials. The city and county officials also plan to meet with Owens-Illinois representatives about possible glass recycling options.

Fawcett said this morning that 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.

“We’ve been struggling with it for a long time,” Ken Rieman, of the recycling center, said last week. “Basically, the market conditions are just to the point it’s too expensive to send the glass out.”

The 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, Rieman said.

“It’s simple economics,” he 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. “We don’t see this as a wise use of money.”

The abrupt end did, however, come as a surprise to Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards.

“I expressed my deep disappointment and concern to the county,” Edwards said last week.

“I understand the bigger picture. I understand the rationale,” the mayor said. But ending the program without advanced notice was just not right. “It’s entirely wrong.”

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