Glass Recycling Faces Fragile Future

Salem the only locality in the Roanoke Valley still accepting recyclable brown and green glass at its drop-off center -- is no longer recycling the material and hasn't been since the end of last year.

Instead, the bottles and jars being plunked down in the city's recycling bin at Sixth and Indiana streets are going straight to the landfill, according to city officials -- a fact that is neither posted on the bins, at the drop-off site or on the city's waste disposal Web page.

Jim Fender, Salem's director of solid-waste management, said the halt on glass recycling may be temporary and largely depends on whether the city can find a lucrative market for the material.

That could happen anytime, Fender said, so the waste department elected not to publicize the change. "If people call and ask us, we'll tell them the truth," Fender said. "But we don't want to discourage them from bringing their glass there."

Still, some users were shocked to learn about the switch and questioned why there wasn't some kind of notification, or even a sign posted on the bins. For many, knowing ahead of time would have saved them time and even gas money.

Others expressed dismay, even outrage, that the city wasn't being upfront with them about where they are sending glass placed in marked recycling containers.

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