Glass recycling program expands

Greg Klein | The Daily StarA recycling bin full of glass is seen Friday, Sept. 11, at the Otsego County Northern Transfer Station near Cooperstown. 

 Otsego County’s dedicated glass recycling program has expanded to the Southern Transfer Station in Oneonta.

The program began on a trial basis late last year at the Northern Transfer Station near Cooperstown and was added to the Southern Transfer Station in Oneonta this summer, according to Otsego County Planner and Recycling Coordinator Shane Digan.

“It has been a success in the sense that we have saved some money,” Digan said.

Since November the county has separated almost 15 tons of glass from other recycling products through the use of dedicated bins, Digan said, include 3.24 tons in July.

The glass products are being recycled locally at Andela Glass Pulverizer in the town of Columbia in Herkimer County. Andela and its sister company, Rudy Lake Glass, turn the recycled glass into road markings, architectural glass, spray on coatings, sand and gravel and other products.

According to Digan, the weight of the glass makes it much more expense to recycle in no-sort bins.

“Right now, with the glass recycling program, we are paying anywhere from $50 to mid-$70 per ton (for transport), versus what we would pay in regular recycling, which can be upwards of $150 per ton.”

Since the multi-county MOSA consortium for waste disposal was dissolved in 2014, Otsego County has contracted with Casella Waste Systems to run its transfer stations.

However, the sharp increase in the cost of no-sort recycling over the past few years has caused Digan and his predecessor, retired Otsego County Planner Karen Sullivan, to look for more cost efficient ways to recycle.

“Recycling certainly isn’t getting any cheaper,” Digan said. “It is not necessarily skyrocketing anymore, but it is just not improving.”

The dedicated glass bins are open to recycling of green, amber and clear food and beverage bottles, including deposit bottles, as well as wine and liquor bottles. It is not for drinking glasses, ovenware, ceramics, dishes, window glass or light bulbs.

“The only downside right now is the glass recycling in not available for haulers,” Digan said. “It is only for individuals who visit the transfer stations.”

Go to www.otsegocounty.com/departments/solid_waste/index.php for more information.

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at gklein@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7218.

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