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Re: [greenyes] Abandoning glass recycling?

I haven¹t read every entry on Delaware¹s plan to keep glass out of their
recycling stream, but it seems to me that the state¹s current drop-off
system?one of the most extensive in the country (and very well
managed)--should be considered for handling that portion of the waste
stream. Philadelphia has a small but very successful community-based
drop-off program that has been maintained with nominal municipal support to
handle all the orphaned recyclables not picked up through curbside:
corrugated cardboard, HDPE jugs, PET bottles, textiles, sometimes computer
equipment, and occasionally other bulky wastes.

As we head more toward co-collection and single-stream programs and as
plastic containers continue to penetrate the glass packaging market it is
going to become more and more difficult to cost justify collection and
processing of the glass fraction. There are numerous programs throughout the
country that have to deal with 20 ­ 30 percent broken glass residues in
their mixes (I¹ve talked to several MRF operators in the last year with well
over 50% glass residue). Yes, there are fixes, but at what cost? I don¹t
know enough about the effectiveness of Delaware¹s current glass drop-off
system, but I¹m sure they¹ve got a handle on the markets and value of that
material for their region. The beauty, of course, of a drop-off system is
that glass can be color separated and that it can be managed prudently and
with care?and therefore remain marketable.

Politically, my guess is that a lot of Delaware residents would be put off
and disappointed about not being able to recycle glass. Modifying the
existing drop-off system for glass and other orphaned materials is probably
the most prudent course.

David Biddle, Executive Director

P.O. Box 4037
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215-432-8225 (mobile)


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