[cjme.com] People in Regina can start putting pickle jars into the blue bins again and know it's being recycled; the City of Regina has finally figured out how to recycle the glass.
In September, some people were upset after discovering that most of the glass they put into their blue recycling bins wasn't being recycled. Refundable glass was being taken to Sarcan, but the intact, non-refundable glass was being stockpiled by Emterra, the waste management company employed by the city; the broken glass was being taken to the landfill.
"Glass has always been one of the most difficult materials to recycle," said Lisa Legault, director of solid waste with the City of Regina.
Legault explained that from now on, refundable glass will still be taken to Sarcan, and intact non-refundable glass, along with the larger pieces of broken glass, will be taken to an end-market with whom Emterra has made a deal.
"It is a processor that takes the glass...and melts it down and turns it into glass beads," said Legault.
The smaller pieces of broken glass will still be taken to the landfill and used with other waste in road construction.
But Legault said Emterra has a machine that will be used to sort the broken glass to find even more pieces that can be sent to the end-market instead of the landfill.
About six per cent of the waste that goes into Regina's recyling bins is glass, and only one per cent of that is refundable. The city had its recycling program for almost a year and a half before this solution was implemented. Legault said this problem wasn't fixed before the recycling program began in May 2013 because the city didn't consider it.
"It was a situation where, before the program started we didn't know what problems we could encounter.
Legault blamed the problem on the type of recycling program the city wanted: a single-stream program where residents put everything into one bin and don't have to sort their recycling.
"When you mix glass and a single-stream you create a challenge, which is the probability of glass breaking."
Legault said the city is always looking for new markets for the glass.
Which is a good thing because the amount of recycling Emterra will have to deal with will be increasing in January when Regina's multi-unit dwellings will be required to provide recycling opportunities for their tenants.