By Linda Cicoira
Glass is no longer being collected for recycling at Accomack County convenience centers.
Waste Watchers of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a group that promotes responsible disposal of trash in the two counties, stated on Facebook that Northampton may soon follow suit due to global economics.
“As has been discussed with your designees in May 2018, the policies enacted by foreign governments with regard to the importation of recycled materials have impacted the U.S. recycling industry, effectively eliminating most of the offset value of the material itself,” Nikolas Larum, General Manager of TFC Recycling wrote to Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason in July. “Due to these circumstances that are beyond our control, we can no longer offer the current rebate structure nor maintain a zero-floor minimum on the processing of the recyclable materials.”
Instead, Larum proposed two options. The first charges the county $120 a ton to allow glass to continue to be received in the mix of recyclable materials. With $30 coming back to the county as a “revenue share.” The other option was to charge a flat rate of $90, which is basically the same as the first option.
Deputy County Administrator Stewart Hall reported Wednesday that after more talk TFC “suggested removing glass from the waste stream … I bought a little bit of time while they updated the numbers, but a decision had to be made early last week. They gave us a cost of $70 per ton with glass removed and that is the option we chose.”
The landfill tipping fee, which helps offset the landfill costs, is $75 a ton and is mostly collected from contractors.
“We are actively investigating the possibility of collecting glass separately and recycling through another outlet but have not found a willing partner to date,” Hall said. “Apparently this is an international problem.” He said he saw television and newspaper stories to that effect.
The recycling of glass was discontinued Monday, Aug. 13. Hall said ads were taken out to alert the public, and there are signs at the centers.
“We trust the county desires to continue stewarding its environment for future generations by providing recycling to its residents and look forward to remaining in partnership with you to service,” Larum wrote.
It is a “sad day for Chincoteague’s environment,” Cindy Shogan of the island posted to Facebook.
Tatum Sumners Ford also shared the post regarding the change. “So our recycling company … is apparently saying glass recycling isn’t paying dividends. Yet, the seven cities still recycle glass, correct? And the rest of the world? Super disappointing.”
Sandra Balmoria of the Accomac area had the solution. “I think we need a giant tumbler and we can smooth out broken glass to use in our driveways instead of oyster shells.”
Richard Ayers said he just came back from visiting Seattle. “They’ve stopped taking all plastics and all paper, except cardboard. They’re citing the same issues.”
Waste Watchers shared a website that provides ideas for using glass bottles and jars: budgetdumpster.com/blog/reusing-glass-bottles-and-jars
According to the site, the average household throws away about 480 pounds of glass every year. It suggested making soap dispensers, bird feeders, spray and storage containers, holiday decorations, lamps, and more and gave instructions and showed pictures of the finished items.