As is, it can be tough for Davis County residents who want to recycle empty bottles and other glass.
Curbside recycling programs in the county typically don’t handle glass because the material can break and mess up paper, cardboard and other recyclables. In fact, Kaysville is the only city in the county that has drop-off locations for glass, though Weber County, too, has limited options.
“It’s been kind of a black hole there for a long time,” said Jason Utgaard, general manager of Momentum Recycling, alluding to the nonexistent glass recycling options south of Kaysville through Davis County. Much of the glass in Davis County, he suspects, “is going to waste because there are no options for it.”
Now, though, Momentum Recycling, a for-profit recycler based in Salt Lake City, has started offering a residential curbside glass-recycling service in the southern part of the county — Centerville, West Bountiful, Bountiful, Woods Cross and North Salt Lake. The plan is to edge northward, potentially adding Ogden to the list of cities that can tap the service by early next year, according to Utgaard.
The city of Ogden operates three drop-off locations for glass, in the 4th Street Ball Park parking lot at 502 Wall Ave., Ogden’s Green Waste Disposal Site at 1875 Monroe Blvd. and in the south parking lot at Ogden High School, 2828 Harrison Blvd. There are four other sites in the county where bins are also placed, including locations in South Ogden and Roy. But as in Davis County, existing curbside recycling programs in Weber County don’t handle glass, focusing instead on paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic, and Jay Lowder, public services director for Ogden, welcomes the possibility of Momentum Recycling’s offer in the city.
“We don’t turn down any option. ... We’re open to new ideas, new options,” Lowder said. Momentum Recycling actually manages the glass bins placed around the Ogden area and in Kaysville.
Handling glass, Lowder said, is a tricky proposition for municipal recycling programs like Ogden’s. If bottles break and the glass sticks to other items, it creates problems. “It makes it where they aren’t usable as a commodity,” Lowder said.
Likewise, handling glass by itself could be a costly proposition, in part because it is denser and heavier than things like aluminum cans and cardboard and more costly to haul. “That just won’t pencil,” Lowder said.
The new service in southern Davis County, launched about two months ago, will cost $8 a month to households that get it and Momentum Recycling will make one pickup a month. “The recycled glass is then used by local Utah industry for fiberglass insulation, abrasives, water filtration, concrete production and other applications,” reads a company press release.
News of the service comes as cities in Weber County and beyond grapple with the higher cost of processing recyclables via their recycling programs, contending with lower demand in markets like China and stagnant prices for the items.
In a report last January, Waste Dive, a recycling industry trade publication, noted difficulties specific to glass recycling dating to the late 2010s stemming from some U.S. locales’ decisions to remove glass from curbside recycling programs. Financial considerations prompted many U.S. cities to such action. The “tide is turning,” though, the report said, as cities take steps to augment glass-recycling options.
“Calls are broadening for creative and targeted solutions to make glass recycling work. Recyclers are focused on devising different collection methods catered to individual regions, reducing contamination, adding equipment investments and conducting public education programs,” said the Waste Dive report.