Port Angeles to resume glass recycling this weekend

No home pickup planned during pilot program

PORT ANGELES — Glass recycling is back in Port Angeles, as a pilot program.

The city will offer glass recycling beginning this weekend at the Port Angeles Regional Transfer Station, 3501 W. 18th St., and the Blue Mountain Transfer Station, 1024 Blue Mountain Road.

Glass will be accepted at these facilities beginning Saturday at no extra charge to residents as part of a pilot program to determine the need for glass recycling in the city and its associated costs.

“The data collected will inform the development of a long-term, sustainable glass recycling strategy,” said a Port Angeles city press release issued Thursday.

“The information will be presented to City Council later this year as part of an annual Solid Waste Cost of Service Analysis (COSA),” the release said.

Individual residents will not receive their own glass recycling boxes at this time and will be encouraged to take their glass to either of the two transfer stations.

“We hope to get people motivated to where they show us what the market is for glass recycling in Port Angeles,” said Mike Healy, director of city Public Works. “Then we can expand or retract the program as needed.”

The program has been in the works for several months since the City of Port Angeles took over solid waste disposal in March 2022. The city ended its contract with Texas-based Waste Connections and brought much of the waste and recycling services in-house, but glass recycling was suspended indefinitely.

Supply-chain issues in regard to getting the steel recycling bins has been part of the reason it has taken so long for these services to return to the regional transfer stations, Healy said.

A secondary issue was finding a glass recycling contractor that would recycle all the glass.

“Unfortunately all of the contractors are in the Seattle metro area,” Healy said. “Then we needed to weed out a contractor that would ensure that everything gets recycled and not just what’s convenient for them or what there’s a market for.

“I don’t think it bodes well for us to take our glass to a recycler that is going to only recycle what they can sell and the rest goes in a landfill. That’s not what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Healy said.

City officials are working with Strategic Materials of Seattle. It was selected because its business model ensures that all the glass it collects will be recycled, city officials said.

This pilot program is paid for by the city’s solid waste general fund and will go on for a year, city personnel said.

In 2024, public works staff will assess the program and present its findings to the City Council, which will determine if the program will continue as is or needs to be modified.

“It’s difficult to say how much it costs because the other side of it is if the glass gets into our garbage stream and into a landfill operation, it will take 1,000 years to decompose, and there’s a cost to that as well,” Healy said.

The pilot program uses separate glass recycling bins at each transfer station to prevent the co-mingling of glass with other recyclable materials, according to the city, and reduce contamination allowing for more efficient processing, thus keeping costs low.

Public Works will assess transfer station usability to determine if hours of operation need to be expanded, Healy said, adding that doing so would mean additional costs to keep the transfer stations open.

The Port Angeles Regional Transfer Station is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The Blue Mountain Transfer Station is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“Nine to five is our time right now. Expanding hours means expanding the staff that it takes to man the place,” Healy said. “We’re conducting a study right now looking at the number of people using the facilities by hour, and if those numbers dictate that our customers are in need of services at different hours, we will certainly look at that.”

For more information, see www.cityofpa.us or contact Public Works at 360-417-4800.

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

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