Like many folks in Levy County, you are probably wondering why we can no longer recycle glass. The reason is that, Strategic Materials, a glass recycling facility in Jacksonville, no longer accepts glass. Another Strategic Materials, located in Sarasota also declined to accept glass from Levy County. So with no place take the glass, the County stopped accepting glass for recycling and instead now trucks it to a landfill where they pay to dispose of it. A ton of glass is about two cubic yards; it takes up a lot of space. The County's position has always been that they have to at least break even when recycling, but now the County is in a position that it cost them money not to recycle.
The results are that the cities in Levy County that have curbside recycling are seeing a considerable reduction in the amount of recycled material. Customers are confused about what to do with the glass, as there has not been much, if any, public notice of this change. Stopping glass recycling will also effect folks in the county because the County recycle trailers will no longer be available for the public to use. This means that these folks would have to take their recycle material to the County facility in Bronson which will further reduce recycling because it is not as convenient. The results of all of this will be that more waste goes to the landfill.
Many cities and counties have instead decided to stockpile the glass to avoid sending it to a landfill and incurring the expense of the landfill tipping fee.
This is a short-term option in hopes that the recycled glass market will improve. In Cedar Key, due to a contractual agreement with the City, Waste Pro is picking up recycled glass, but currently all the glass is going to a landfill.
So…what can residents do. You could buy items that are not in glass containers. You could also improve your recycle efforts on the other items that can be recycled. You might consider composting since household waste can contain between 15% and 20% of food waste that can be composted and then reused.
This is currently the situation. Markets and demands change over time so will just have to see how all this works out.