glass recycling

Glass recyclers have concerns over Tucson’s new plan

As I wrote in a previous article, Comments On Tucson City Council’s Plan On Recycling Glass, the City of Tucson plans to stop collecting glass in the recycle bins. Instead the City will provide sites around the city for residents to drop off glass. The glass will be ground to sand and used to fill sandbags or as an aggregate for construction projects. That plan has drawn the ire of glass recycling companies.

In response to that article, I recently received an email from Laura Hennemann, Vice President, Strategic Materials, the largest glass recycler in North America. The email contained three attachments, all letters to the Tucson City Council, that show the folly of the City plan.

Ms. Hennermann writes, “We are saddened to also learn the City’s glass will be pulverized and used as aggregate, ending the life of glass. Glass is 100% recyclable, endlessly. Glass does not belong in the ground or the landfill.” Read her full letter (click back arrow to return): View Fullscreen

The second letter is from Angus E. Crane, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association). His main point is that recycled glass is necessary to manufacture fiberglass insulation. Since 1992, when NAIMA started collecting recycled data, 61.8 billion pounds of recycled material have been diverted from the waste stream.

Read his letter: View Fullscreen 

The third letter is from Scott DeFife, President of the Glass Packaging Institute. His 4-page letter goes into detail on the flaws of Tucson’s plan. “The glass reuse plan is missing several key points in the underlying facts and analysis concerning removal of glass from curbside recycling, including its positive impact on carbon emissions, versus the proposed alternative, downcycling glass for sand substitute.” Read his letter: View Fullscreen

Tucson City Council members should rethink their plan. As I wrote before, I am skeptical that most residents will bother to find one of the city’s planned drop-off bins. I think that under the proposed plan, most glass will wind up in the landfill.