Waste management company Emterra and the City of Regina are trying to avert a PR nightmare surrounding obligations over glass container recycling, a program just over one year old.
There has been a disconnect between what some residents and media thought had been happening to glass containers—which comprise six per cent of the city’s Blue Cart stream—and the reality: that many glass jars end up broken and landfilled.
Emterra, the city’s private recycler, says it’s working on finding a solution to recycling Regina’s broken glass.
“We have recycled intact glass containers from the City’s Blue Cart Recycling program since the program began,” said Emterra’s business manager, Paulina Leung, in a statement. “We had been taking intact refundable and non-refundable glass containers to SARCAN [recycling centre]. We will continue taking refundable glass to SARCAN. As part of the recovery process, intact non-refundable glass containers are stored while additional local glass markets are developed.”
Part of the confusion comes from the city’s explanation that SARCAN “at times” ends up with a mix of refundable and non-refundable glass container.
In terms of the non-refundable glass containers, Emterra says it’s storing them intact at their recycling facility “while additional end markets are developed.”
Adding to the confusion is the wording of the contract between Emterra and Regina. While it does not appear to differentiate between broken and intact glass, the City says it implicitly addresses intact glass only. The counterpoint is that Emterra has always been the duty to recycle broken glass, but has significantly delayed that responsibility.
The City of Regina says its Blue Cart Recycling Program has a 96 per cent recovery rate.