Ogden's glass recycling program a smashing success?

Wednesday , November 04, 2015 - 7:00 AM

OGDEN — Since August 2013, Ogden’s glass recycling bins have kept 359 tons — or 718,000 pounds — of bottles, jars and other breakables out of the landfill.

In 2013, the city contracted with Salt Lake City-based Momentum Recycling for three giant collection bins to be stationed around the city. That five-year contract is set to expire in February 2018, according to Momentum President John Lair, and the city pays nothing for the service.

• RELATED: Ogden to offer three glass recycling locations

“The bins, the hauling, and the recycling of the glass is all done at our cost. The city provides the locations for the bins, and has personnel monitor the locations to clean up any broken glass that doesn’t find its way into the bins,” Lair said, describing the terms as “a very good deal for the city, given the current tonnage collected.”

However, if Ogden’s current glass recycling rates fail to rise, Lair said that future contracts could require Momentum to begin charging the city fees.

“We expected that the Ogden population would recycle much more glass. Our research indicates that there is approximately 250 tons of glass per month entering the waste stream in Ogden, and in places with mature drop-off programs, the glass recycling rate averages around 24 percent,” Lair said. “Thus, we expect that Ogden can reach a monthly tonnage of around 60 tons. After almost three years of service, the monthly average is about 18 tons per month.”

Lair projected that tonnage would need to double to preclude future fees.

“Of course, we would much prefer to see the level of glass recycling increase,” Lair added.

Ogden City Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson praised the no-cost program.

“It’s a great program. We’re anxious for recycling to take place, to help them and to have them help us with something we can’t do on our own,” Johnson said Monday, Nov. 2.

The bins — located at Ogden High School’s south parking lot (2828 Harrison Blvd.), Ogden’s Green Waste Site (1845 Monroe Blvd.) and Bonneville Park (360 Monroe Blvd.) — get emptied by Momentum when they reach the full mark.

Momentum also services a fourth bin on the Weber State University campus at 3870 S. Stadium Way.

Momentum extends south to St. George, north to Jackson, Wyo., and also has multiple sites in Logan and Salt Lake County, said Jeff Whitbeck, vice president of operations. Momentum services 65 Utah sites, but Ogden is the only Weber County city to partner with the company.

“Certainly it’s a significant figure in terms of alleviating stress on the landfill,” Whitbeck said of Ogden’s 359-ton contribution. If not recycled, that glass would lie inert in the landfill, driving up the need for additional garbage depositories sooner rather than later.

“Plus it’s a useful commodity,” Whitbeck said of the recycled glass that Momentum sanitizes and crushes into cullet that can be used to make more glass containers, fiberglass, abrasives, flux to bind ceramics and bricks or for use in metal foundries, hydroponic root material, soil additives and fly ash, filtration medium for swimming pools and other water facilities, paint and plastic fillers, and friction activators in matches and ammunition.

Residents can drop off all types of colored and clear glass at these glass-recycling receptacles.

According to Momentum, its process involves sorting, breaking and then drying the small particles at 190 degrees. The resulting product is then screened and separated into different sized grades suited to a variety of end markets that use either pebbles, sand or powdered glass.

Glass is also accepted at Wasatch Integrated Waste Management, 1997 E. 3500 North in Layton.

Ogden City Council member Caitlin Gochnour helped champion the current program and is eager to see it continue in future years.

“Surprisingly, way too many residents are still unaware of the program,” Gochnour said, adding that Ogden is doing the right thing by keeping all that glass out of the refuse stream (which also saves money in dumping fees) and repurposing it.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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