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Re: [greenyes] Abandoning glass recycling?

Hello Alan,

I would like to suggest that the group is pursuing the wrong dichotomy. Rather than divide all waste into the two proposed categories, I suggest that you think about separating wastes into ORGANICS and OTHER WASTES.

There would need to be strong supplemental messaging about BANS on the disposal of HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS.

This is the familiar wet-dry system, which collects "wet" food waste, yard waste, and low-grade paper products separately from "dry" products, which would include both currently recyclable products (such as glass, newspapers, etc.) and products for which no current recycling programs exist (all other products except HAZARDOUS).

Thus, rather than bicker over which products are 'recyclable', we go with a distinction which is practical as well as principled.

After hazardous products (paint, oil, pesticides, computers, etc.) organics cause the most immediate problem when landfilled: they are the source of leachate and methane. Also, there are local markets for finished compost (if nothing else, as soil amendment in public parks). Also, organics technologies are turning out to be quite diverse, with the promise of producing not only soil amendment but energy (methane) in conditions that are much more controlled than the very crude landfill gas capture programs that are being used by the waste industry to rehabilitate landfilling.

As a devout supporter of EPR, I hold to a vision that someday all products will go "back to their makers" (this is the kind of discourse we are supposed to use in the post-election era?). My belief in EPR also compels me to hold my local community responsible for proper stewardship of community organics. Just as I don't cut producers any slack in landfilling their products, I won't cut my local government any slack in landfilling community organics.

I urge you to take a look at Metro-Portland's White Paper on its Organic Waste Management Program at:



At 08:34 AM 11/3/2004, Alan Muller wrote:
A group working on a curbside program for Delaware has proposed a two stream system in which residents would separate their wastes into recyclables, and non-recyclables to be landfilled. Part of the proposal is to have the users put the glass into the non-recyclables.

Several reasons (or excuses) are offered for this, including:

(1) broken glass will contaminate the paper stream and reduce prices gotten for it;

(2) recycling glass isn't profitable unless it's separated by color;

(3) the tonnage is relatively small and decreasing (as plastic containers take over) and glass is OK to landfill as a stable material.

I would much appreciate some comment on this.


Alan Muller

Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA
fax (302)836-3005

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