Leaders in Sioux City are the latest trying to decide whether to exclude glass from residential curbside recycling collection. Dubuque stopped collecting glass at curbside two years ago, Iowa City before that. Cedar Rapids pondered stopping, but continues to pick it up curbside. Joe Hummel with the Iowa City recycling company City Carton defends glass as 100-percent recyclable and more environmentally friendly.
“Using one truckload of glass as opposed to virgin materials to make the same amount of glass would save approximately three-point-six-six-tons of CO-2 from being emitted into the atmosphere,.”Hummel says. The problem with recycled glass is there is little value in it as the raw materials for making new glass are inexpensive.
“So therefore, your value for clear glass is usually about 30-dollars a ton delivered to a market, maybe 20-dollars a ton for amber glass delivered to a market, whereas your shipping costs are frequently equal to or greater than that depending on how close to a market you may be,” Hummel explains.
Collecting glass along with other recyclable materials can also pose some problems. “When glass is mixed in a residential stream of materials, the bottles can break — the containers can fracture — and then those pieces of glass get embedded in the other grades of material, whether it be cardboard, newspaper, magazines, etcetera,” Hummel says.
Linn County’s Solid Waste Agency collects as much as 53-tons of glass monthly and gives it to Ripple Glass Recyclers in Kansas City to haul away free. If Sioux City starts collecting glass at central centers rather than curbside, Ripple Glass is offering to haul it away free