For more than one year, Reginans have been doing their due diligence and paying for the privilege to make the city a little greener – placing glass items on their curb to be recycled. But as it turns out, some of that glass is instead going to the landfill.
“This will probably change as we have more discipline and less contamination of the material, we’ll be able to extract the glass that’s broken and find a market for that as well,” Mayor Michael Fougere said Thursday.
Glass makes up about six per cent of each blue bin. Intact glass is recycled by Emterra, but broken glass goes to the landfill.
The city can’t say how much, but it’s estimated the majority of the 650 tonnes of glass that’s collected by Loraas each year doesn’t withstand the collection process and is shattered by the time it arrives at Emterra’s facility.
“We can tell by the volume of glass that’s broken in the pile. The problem is that that glass is mixed with dirt and pottery and other materials that really are not recyclable, and trying to separate things like organics from that glass can become difficult – but we can see that there’s a large volume,” said Karen Gasmo, Regina’s executive director of transportation and utilities.
The city uses broken glass that residents bring to the landfill as road material. But if it arrives through the recycling program, it ends up unused – for now. The municipality says it’s the responsibility of the service provider to find a market for that material.
“To make it very clear here, for Emterra, it’s in their financial interest to get rid of that broken glass because they pay hauling charges to the landfill,” said Mayor Michael Fougere. He added, “So there’s a financial hit to them as well. They want that broken glass out and so do we as the city. So there’s an incentive for them to do that, and they are going to do that.”
Global News reached out to Emterra to find out how much the company is paid by the city to process glass for Regina. That information wasn’t released, as the company cited it as commercially sensitive and confidential material.