- The Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District has teamed up with Momentum Recycling to make glass recycling available to 30,000 residents in Salt Lake County, UT.
- Since the opt-in program began in August 2015, 26 tons of glass have been diverted through the curbside program.
- Residents must pay an initial $45 for a 35-gallon recycling cart and $8 per month after that for the glass collection.
The optional approach is intriguing, but whether enough residents will participate remains to be seen. Seven free drop-off sites are also available, though the district's website warns residents that "these sites are heavily used" and seems to emphasize the curbside program's convenience. So far, the county said residents are willing to pay extra to be environmentally conscious.
As the glass recycling market falters, companies and government agencies are looking for new ways to make it work. Houston notably suspended its glass collection program and other cities have experimented with similar approaches. While commodity prices have fluctuated and it can be challenging to recover in single-stream systems, recycled glass is still preferable to virgin material. More than 20 companies recently formed the U.S. Glass Recycling Coalition with the goal of finding new ways to ensure a steady supply of material and make the economics work.
Momentum Recycling, which takes the Salt Lake County material, has had good success with its operation. The company has recycled 75 million pounds of glass since 2008 and estimates that about 60% of its output goes to a fiberglass company within the state.