PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles is getting ready to start a city residential glass recycling pilot program some time this year.
A start date is yet to be determined.
Mike Healey, interim Public Works director, said it would be publicly announced once the necessary equipment and contracts are secured.
“It has always been the city’s intent to provide solid waste and recycling services to our customers,” Healey said at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The city took over recycling services from Waste Connections in 2021. During the transition, the collection of glass recycling both at individual homes and at the transfer stations was put on hold.
“Unfortunately transitional and inherited operations made it impossible to achieve continuity in all areas,” Healey said. “We are working diligently to identify a path forward, given the geographically limited receiver sources available to resume glass recycling.”
Currently, the only facilities that receive glass for recycling are in Seattle and Tumwater.
“The most economical one for us would be Strategic Materials in Seattle, especially given they actually pay us for recycled glass, whereas the Tumwater location charges a fee per ton,” Healey said.
The Glass Recycling Pilot program would come at no additional cost to customers, with bins for recycling being located at the Port Angeles Transfer Station on 18th Street and Blue Mountain Transfer Station off Blue Mountain Road near Agnew.
Council member Navara Carr welcomed the return of glass recycling but pushed for recycling at residents’ homes.
“I’m very glad to see that glass recycling is coming back because we currently drive to Sequim to recycle which is embarrassing,” Carr said.
”That being said, we will now be driving to the transfer stations, which we don’t drive to at any other time. So part of the emissions costs that should be factored in is the number of emissions that residents create when traveling.
“We already pay for recycling to be picked up from our homes,” Carr said, “so are we looking to continue this model or are we looking at getting glass recycling back at people’s homes like door-to-door service?” .
One of the purposes of the pilot program is to determine the level of use a glass recycling program would generate, collecting data on customer participation and the volume of materials collected.
Healy said this could include collecting data on vehicle emissions and the cost of individual pickup versus trips to the transfer station.
“What you will see with a successful pilot program will answer a lot of those questions and identify a lot of those potential programs,” Healey said.
The estimated costs for this program are between $26,000 and $36,000 based on past usage figures and not including operational and labor costs.
“Based upon previous usage figures we estimate roughly two to three transit loads per month through the end of the year at $2,000 per load and we estimate that we may receive $7,000 in revenue to offset roughly $25,000 in transit costs during the pilot program,” Healey said.
The majority of the council approved the new program with Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin abstaining from the vote, saying he believed there was no need to ”reauthorize” glass recycling and
“When did we stop authorizing glass recycling? We as a council never stopped glass recycling,” Schromen-Wawrin said.
He commented first about the “giant for-profit corporation that shall not be named that “tried to take away everyone’s recycle bins and pulled other stunts to try and make people think that we as a city weren’t going to continue recycling.”
“Unfortunately, glass recycling fell by the wayside,” he continued.
”We never voted to discontinue it. I personally don’t think we should have to vote to reauthorize it,” Schromen-Wawrin said.
Reporter Ken Park can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.