Downturn ends glass recycling in Anchorage

150 tons of material a month will go straight to the city landfill

Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ANCHORAGE - The downtown in the economy means that up to 150 tons of glass a month will go straight to the Anchorage dump, rather than recycling bins, beginning in the first week of the New Year.

Drop-off containers for glass at the Anchorage Recycling Center, the Anchorage Regional Landfill and at Brown Jug Warehouse will be removed Jan. 5.

The decision came Dec. 18 from Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling, with the Municipality of Anchorage Solid Waste Services. The primary reason given for the shutdown was a significant decrease in demand for the end product.

"This coupled with high production costs, especially in the winter, has caused the local glass plant to conclude that it is not economical to take more glass at this time," Jeanne Carlson, recycling coordinator for the municipality.

Carlson said the municipality has not given up on glass but the key is finding markets that bring in more money than it costs to process the glass."

Carlson said 140 tons to 150 tons of glass are recycled monthly in Anchorage, with 90 percent of it dropped off by individuals at recycling center.

There are other opportunities being explored for using the glass and hopefully those will come to fruition by spring, according to Mary Fisher, executive director of ALPAR.

"People really want to recycle glass and are being very conscientious about it, and that drives ALPAR and the city to find opportunities," Fisher said.

Fisher said glass would be collected through the holidays to give residents sufficient notice to stop saving glass.

"We find no other reasonable alternatives at hand other than to stop the flow of glass until the market recovers and the economics improve," she said.

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