County to quit taking glass for recycling...New IDEM regulations blamed

The Adams County Solid Waste District, effective September 1, will no longer accept glass at its recycling sites.District Director Hank Mayer made that recommendation - with reservations and regret - Monday evening during a meeting of the district's board of directors.

The board voted unanimously in support of the change.

The motivation behind the decision was purely economic, Mayer explained, and was brought to a head by new mandates issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

According to the solid waste director, IDEM recently added truck stops and recycling centers to the list of sites required to obtain stormwater permits. Mayer said that because liquids at the Adams County transfer station are captured in an underground storage tank, he believed the site would qualify for an exemption from the state regulations.

But during a recent on-site visit by IDEM personnel, Mayer was told that any materials stored outdoors constitute a potential environmental hazard. All such materials, according to IDEM, must be under cover before the site could qualify for a stormwater exemption.

At the current time, according to Mayer, large bins holding glass and metal are stored outdoors at the Adams County site. He said a building of the size necessary to satisfy IDEM requirements for an exemption could cost the solid waste district as much as $30,000.

That potential expense, coupled with a market for recycled glass that has virtually dried up, prompted Mayer to ask the board to consider ending it policy of recycling glass.

"There is no market for recycled glass; it's actually costing us money to take it," said Mayer. "I think the cost is exceeding the value we're getting, and rather than spend thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money, we might want to consider not recycling glass any more."

The district currently is paying nearly $400 per month to dispose of recycled glass, according to the director.

"If this was my business, I'd be finished with glass. You've gotta be realistic," Mayer said. "Glass is one of the least environmentally harmful things you can put in a landfill."

Board member and county commissioner Steve Baumann said he believes the district should "recycling anything we can," but added he understands the rationale behind Mayer's request.

Mayer said he is aware that the new policy will be met with some objection from county residents who over the years have faithfully removed recyclables from the solid waste stream.

"But when you start paying significant amounts of money to satisfy some mandates issued from on high, you've got to do something," said Mayer.

Board member Judy Converset made the motion to discontinue the recycling of glass "until it becomes profitable again" to do so.

600450 County to quit taking glass for recycling...New IDEM regulations blamed
Date: 18 August 2004

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