If you are a Dubuquer who feels uneasy — even guilty — about putting empty glass jars and bottles in your trash container, you’re not alone.
Some 8½ years ago, the City of Dubuque forced residents to “unlearn” the curbside recycling habit, only as it pertains to glass, noting that glass is one of the least harmful items going into landfills and that recycling glass can’t be justified financially.
If you say so. But still, it just doesn’t feel right — especially in a city that advocates “green” practices — to toss that empty pickle jar in the garbage can instead of the recycling bin.
Apparently, many other Dubuquers feel likewise.
And so city officials budgeted $10,000 to establish a site where folks could drop off glass that otherwise would enter the landfill. Then, a Kansas City firm that recycles glass into other products, including containers and fiberglass insulation, would haul away Dubuquers’ discarded glass.
As the TH reported Thursday, those plans are on hold, as city officials are considering an alternative that would involve the Dubuque Metropolitan Solid Waste Agency.
Officials also expressed concern that if Dubuquers hear that a means to recycle glass has returned, glass will again show up in those yellow recycling bins, contaminating and wreaking havoc with the current recycling system.
Whatever happens here, do not — we repeat, do not — put glass in those yellow recycling bins.
For five years after Dubuque stopped curbside recycling of glass, Dittmer Recycling maintained a drop-off bin on its West End premises. That option ended three years ago.
In the spring of 2011, when Dubuque stopped curbside collection of glass, a TH editorial noted the City of Ames, Iowa, secured a grant and bought a glass crusher, which ground glass into a sand-like substance for use in construction and landscaping projects. Could Dubuque do likewise? Coincidentally, according to its municipal website, Ames works with Ripple Glass, of Kansas City. That’s the same firm Dubuque was considering.
Dubuquers have lived 8½ years without a municipal option regarding the discarding of glass, so they can go a while longer. But, unlike glass in a landfill, their patience won’t last forever.