Glass no longer accepted


Trevor Drew

If your rigid recyclables weren’t picked up last Tuesday, it may have been because your curbside bin contained glass, which is no longer accepted as recyclable material by the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority (MCSWMA).

As of Jan. 1, Marquette residents must remove glass from their recycling bins and place it in a waste receptacle for it to be taken away.

After a feasibility study regarding recycling, it was discovered by MCSWMA that the perception among residents was that glass was being recycled in Marquette county, Landfill Director Brad Austin said.

“That is not the case. Glass has never been recycled here. It has always been placed in the landfill,” Austin said.
The material’s damaging effect on equipment, the contamination of other materials and worker safety were all cited by Austin as reasons to no longer accept glass as a recyclable material. Austin added that another huge factor in the decision was the state of glass buyers in the area.

“There is not a glass recycler locally here. We’ve looked at several options but at the end of the day, the cost to process and transport exceeds the value of the material,” Austin said.

Going forward, Austin said it is unlikely that glass will be accepted unless an opportunity arises that would make it more economically feasible.

Austin urged community members to act as responsible consumers and be conscious of product packaging when making purchases.

“I think people have choices and I’d like to see folks take a closer look at what we’re purchasing,” Austin said. “Start evaluating what we’re doing and look at what is acceptable in the recycling program and make your decisions

While Marquette residents must adjust to this change, Northern Michigan University is unaffected by this decision, Assistant Director of Facilities Building Services Brandon Sager said in an email. Sager explained that NMU’s recyclables are collected by Waste Management and brought to a sorting facility in Eagle River, Wisconsin that separates all of the materials including glass.