RE: Glass recycling controversy
As a recent subscriber and avid reader of www.solidwastemag.com, I have been following closely the ongoing debate about commingled glass collection in Ontario as detailed on your website.
The back and forth between OI Canada and Stewardship Ontario captures the essence of a debate that’s also going on here in the U.S, in the UK and elsewhere.
The inescapable reality is that the economics of solid waste collection is driving the movement to commingled (single-stream) collection of recyclables, and no amount of hand-wringing is going to change or stop that trend.
I am a managing member of a company called Green Mountain Glass, LLC (GMG) that recognized several years ago that commingled collection was here to stay and that proponents of glass recycling needed to address the central issue — how can one use mixed color cullet in glass manufacturing?
Under the direction of GMG’s technical director, internationally recognized glass expert Dr. Richard Lehman of Rutgers University, GMG has developed and proven (in a plant test) extensive technology that enables glass container manufacturers to use up to 70 percent mixed cullet in making amber and green bottles. I won’t bore you with the technical details here (they’re more fully set forth in our website at www.greenmountainglass.com
The most striking fact about this technology is that by enabling the use of mixed cullet in glass making, one actually increases the amount of glass that can be recycled. That’s because you only process the cullet once, to remove the contaminants. This eliminates the costly and waste-producing second step of then having to color sort.
The recent Grant Thornton study produced in the UK makes it abundantly clear that efforts to remove glass from the waste stream for any purpose other than closed-loop re-melting are actually counter-productive to improving and protecting the environment.
As the old adage goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That’s what GMG is trying to do with glass recycling. Of all the commoditized recyclables today, glass presents the greatest problems with the fewest benefits to recyclers, processors and manufacturers. We at GMG are working to change that equation so that glass recycling becomes a winning proposition for communities, recyclers, processors and glass manufacturers in the not too distant future.
You are obviously very well attuned to all of the glass recycling issues in Ontario and Canada in general. We would welcome any thoughts and/or suggestions as to how we could best present our technology to the key players up there to assist in solving some of the problems set forth in your magazine and website.
Tony Lame, Managing Member
Green Mountain Glass, LLC
Bryn Mawr, PA
From Our Website:
Finally the Ontario politicians discovered the true value within the deposit-refund concept. Great to see liquor containers coming on stream, now are they — the politicians — brave enough to expand the program to include all beverage containers?
John E. Doran, New Brunswick
Re: “Include Milk” SWR December/January 2007 edition)
Our province is lucky to have Ann’s legacy for fighting these battles. Plastic milk jugs are not the issue; most blue-box programs benefit from the strong commodity price for the plastic. As both an organics collection service provider and composter, we’re finding gable top milk containers a growing contaminant. People trying not to landfill gable tops are putting them in organics bins hoping something better will become of them. Polycoat containers are not a good resource for composting, they simply take too long to degrade, and end up being screened out as garbage, at our expense.
We have been patient waiting for a redeemable deposit to encourage people to source-separate gable-top dairy containers, but without the financial incentive to recapture their deposit, it will not change habits. The deposit system in BC works well, it both motivates collection services, and ‘shopping cart entrepreneurs’ to see the containers recycled. We hope the BC Minister of Environment will assign a worthwhile deposit value to gable-top milk containers to get people to make the effort.
Oh, and thanks Ann!
Jason Adams [Owner]
reFUSE – find waste to change.
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