After banning plastic bags from recycling in April, Saskatoon’s city staff are now leaning towards banning glass from blue bins as well.
A report going to city council’s environment, utilities and corporate services committee on Monday claims 90 per cent of the glass currently being recycled by residents ends up breaking apart by the time it arrives at sorting facilities — and shards smaller than one inch get thrown in the trash.
City administration is proposing a pilot project in partnership with SARCAN to expand accepted materials at their facilities to include non-beverage glass containers like pickle and mason jars.
The goal during the one year program would be to increase recovery rates of glass and to gauge whether it can be banned from blue bins.
“The issue with glass is that it’s just a very challenging product to deal with,” said Amber Weckworth, city manager of education and environmental performance. “It’s expensive to recycle and very hard to recover.”
The report notes the city would fund SARCAN’s collection of the new glass materials, with costs estimated between $16,700 and $33,400 depending on how much is returned through the pilot.
Glass currently accounts for about four per cent of the city’s recycling stream in terms of weight, and the unbroken items are eventually delivered to SARCAN for final recycling.
The report does acknowledge recycling rates by residents could actually decrease through the pilot project.
“A depot program would lead to a lower capture rate but lead to a higher percentage of glass actually being recycled,” it reads.
If the one year pilot is deemed successful, administration could recommend city council ban glass from blue bins altogether.
But during the project, Weckworth said residents would still be free to put glass in their bins.
“People can still put their glass in there and take their chances that some of it will be recovered,” she said.
“But this (pilot) will give them more options to make sure it is recovered.”