By Laura Stovel
Of all the material that we recycle, glass seems to cause the most problems. When people mistakenly add glass to their curbside recycling bags, workers handling the material can be injured and other recycling can be contaminated. “We don’t want glass because it wrecks the paper” once it gets to the pulp mill, said Deanne Stephenson, manager of the Cascades Recovery plant that receives our recycling. “Inevitably some gets through. We took out glass in 2003 and things have been way better since then.”
The glass deposited in the green recycling bins at the Bottle Depot are shipped to the fully-automated Emterra plant in Surrey where it is then diverted to other places like the Vitreous glass recycling plant in Alberta. Not only is the carbon footprint of this process huge, the glass again risks contaminating the paper.
Now Revelstoke will have its own start-to-finish glass recycling process. In a pilot project initiated by Bresco and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), glass will be collected at specialized bins at the Bottle Depot and at the dump. The glass will then be crushed by Bresco and used as drainage material, in drainage ditches, for example.
Some people might wonder whether a more central location could be found for the new glass bin – or indeed for the other recycling bins. The old location near the arena was more convenient for those without vehicles but it is no longer available because of the parking needs in the area. Could another central location could be found?
“If you can find someone who would like to have those bins, phone me,” said Carmen Fennell, waste reduction facilitator for the CSRD. The problem is that people throw in bags of dog droppings or leave inappropriate material like television sets which results in the sites being messy. “Also, we’re trying to have a one-stop shop” where people can leave all their recycling, she said.
According to Brett Renaud, co-owner of Bresco, the glass recycling bins are already at the dump and they will be at the Bottle Depot early this week.