Orange County, N.C., Solid Waste Management has installed new dumpsters to collect source-separated glass bottles and jars at the Eubanks Road and Ferguson Road Waste and Recycling Centers. The county is asking residents to separate their glass bottles and jars from the plastic bottles, metal cans and paper for recycling to reduce program costs and improve efficiency.
The county can sell properly separated glass bottles and jars directly to Strategic Materials, a glass processor in Wilson, N.C.
"Glass bottles and jars have been combined with paper, plastic bottles and metal cans in single stream recycling for the past five years, but this year’s poor market conditions are making recycling more costly," said Orange County Solid Waste Director Robert Williams in a statement.
Separating glass bottles and jars makes a large economic difference to the county. The money received from the sale of the glass covers most of the costs of managing the glass program, whereas if the glass is included in mixed loads, the county pays a processor an average of $105 for each ton of mixed material delivered to them. Separating bottles and jars recovers more of their value for recycling while helping drive down program costs for Orange County.
Waste and recycling center staff are educating site users on the need for separating glass, asking customers to sign a pledge card to recycle glass separately and offering some residents free bins or bags in exchange for taking the pledge. More than 140 bins were distributed, and more than 200 pledges were signed.
The county will expand to the other three staffed waste and recycling centers in the coming months and perhaps to the unstaffed sites later in 2020. As part of a new regional effort to reduce glass, Alamance and Durham Counties are scheduled to bring their source-separated glass to Orange County beginning in January 2020. The consolidated glass will be shipped to Strategic Materials as part of a new regional effort to reduce recycling costs.
The Glass on the Side program is asking bars and restaurants on the county’s commercial recycling routes to separate their bottles and jars from the rest of their recycling. Currently, more than 30 businesses are participating in the program’s first phase, targeted along Franklin Street in Chapel Hill into Carrboro along Main Street and Weaver Street. That effort will expand until all major generators of glass bottles throughout the county have been offered the program.
The first load of 12.5 tons of glass delivered to the Strategic Materials plant in Wilson on November 19 was deemed excellent at an estimated 98 percent pure, according to Bill Clark and Tom Syre, the supply managers for Strategic Materials.