Dubuque cuts glass from recycling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque cuts glass from recycling


The Dubuque City Council decided after a recommendation from the city manager at Monday's council meeting to eliminate glass from curbside recycling.

The vote passed, 6-1.

This recommendation comes after the Iowa DNR funded a study of the sustainability of glass curbside recycling in Dubuque.

City resource management coordinator Paul Schultz said glass recycled in Dubuque has to be sent all the way to the Chicago area, so more money is spent collecting and transporting the material than it is worth.

"It's a net loss of energy," Schultz said. "More fossil fuel is used and climate impact is achieved by trying to recycle glass in Dubuque than if it's put in the landfill."

The study finds that in order to collect glass curbside, Dubuque has invested more than $65,000 in proper vehicles and bags over the course of 10 years. However, glass only accounts for six percent of all the materials the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency collects.

Now that glass is eliminated from the recycling program, people in Dubuque have three options. They can bring it to a glass redemption center, they can take glass to a designated drop-off site in the city and, Schultz said, "the third thing is, that glass is very inert. Put it in the trash will work. It doesn't cause harm in the landfill. It doesn't cause any greenhouse gases or anything."

Schultz said glass is only worth about $12 per ton, but it costs the city $300 per ton to pick up curbside and recycle. He also said mixing glass in with other, more valuable recyclable materials such as aluminum can contaminate those and lower their value.

If council members decide to move forward with this measure, Dubuque will discontinue the curbside collection of glass for recycling on July 2.

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