It’s a sign of the times.
Although glass is highly recyclable, it is more cost effective to create new glass than recycle it, so the City of Port Orange is joining a growing trend to eliminate glass from recycle bins. As of Oct. 1, all glass should go in the garbage.
“Simply put, we are sending glass to our recycler that is not getting recycled, and it’s costing us $30,000 to do it,” Mayor Don Burnette said. “Right now, there is no after market for recycling. Instead of recycling it, our recycler is sending it to the dump. Instead of sending it to a recycler to send to the dump, we’re going to save $30,000 and send it to the dump directly ourselves.
The city's recycler is GEL Recycling.
“It’s costing manufacturers less to produce glass than it does to recycle glass. It’s cheaper for them to make it, then it is to recycle it (so) they’re not recycling,” Mayor Burnette said. “It’s just the way the recycle market is working right now. Products that were sent to China for a long time, they are no longer taking to recycle.”
It’s a horrible waste, but it comes down to dollars and sense, he said.
“We knew this was coming and put together some nice public information pieces and now getting the word out,” the mayor said. “We’ve been gearing up for this for a little while.”
Mick Neals, the city's solid waste manager, said in a video, “When in doubt, throw it out. Glass has not been recyclable for some time. We’re going to put the glass in the garbage and save the city about $30,000 a year by doing that. Right now glass is so expensive to recycle, it’s actually cheaper to just go get sand and create new glass.”
Christine Martindale, the city's public information officer, stated in an email, “Glass has not been recycled for a long time. Waste Pro goes through every bin to make sure it is recyclable material only. Currently glass is so expensive to recycle, that it is actually cheaper to get sand to create new glass. The cost of allowing the recycle processor to continue to take the glass out of the recycling and to the landfill instead of delivering it ourselves, is almost three times what we would pay by taking it to the landfill along with the garbage.
“We currently do not have a timeline for if or when recycling glass will return in our city, but as far as eliminating the residential recycling program entirely, we don’t anticipate that to happen,” she said.
The rest of the city’s recycling service will remain the same, at least for now. Residents can have up to three bins that should be placed curbside on the designated weekly collection day.
One bin may contain newspapers (plastic sleeve removed and thrown away), junk mail and magazines, phone books, mixed office paper, cereal and snack boxes, paper food packaging, and cardboard boxes (cut or flattened) to two foot by two foot. Pizza boxes are generally not allowed due to grease and food particles that may contaminate them.
The second bin may contain aluminum and steel cans, plastic deli containers, CD cases and prescription bottles, and plastic containers with recycle symbols 1-7. Plastic caps cannot be recycled.
No Styrofoam or plastic bags are allowed. Grocery bags can be recycled at most grocery stores. Non-recyclable materials will be left in your bin to let you know that item is not recyclable.
Residents can pick up recycle bins at the Public Works Department at 407 Virginia Ave. in Port Orange.