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Pleasant Grove glass gets a second pass

By Caleb Warnock - Daily Herald - | Apr 4, 2014

A simple tweet opened a whole new possibility for recycling in Utah Valley this week.

Acting on the request of residents, Pleasant Grove has started what is believed to be the valley’s first glass recycling program. Utah Valley as a whole has been slow to adopt such an effort, which has been available for a couple years in Salt Lake County and Park City.

“I had a couple of residents contact me last year and they were interested in how we could get it started,” said Pleasant Grove Councilwoman Cyd LeMone, who created the city’s new glass drop-off. “We are going to see how it goes.”

The program is small now — just a metal collection bin on the east side of Pleasant Grove’s library. Anyone from any city in Utah Valley is welcome to bring their glass, free of charge.

If the program proves popular it will likely expand, said Correy Selden of Momentum Recycling in Salt Lake City. Because it is the only glass recycler in the area, Momentum gets truckloads from as far away as Jackson Hole, Wyo., where landfill fees are so steep it is cheaper to haul the glass to Utah for recycling.

Pickle jars, Mason jars, other food jars and soft drink bottles are commonly recycled at Momentum. Alcoholic beverage containers are recycled but are less common, given the population. The glass is taken to Momentum’s Salt Lake plant where it is crushed, sanitized by baking, washed and sorted according to grain size. At the end of the process the glass resembles fine beach sand and is sold to companies that use it to make insulation and countertops, for sandblasting, or as a bonding agent in concrete and asphalt.

Clearly, if Utah Valley has just seen its first glass recycling opportunity, awareness that such a thing is possible here is still growing.

“We can do this,” Selden said. “It is easy to do. And it makes a huge difference.”

Because recycled glass requires far less energy to melt than virgin sand glass, recycling not only saves on landfill space but also saves energy.

LeMone said Pleasant Grove started the program simply to help residents.

“I think anytime someone wants to recycle, we should help them do that,” she said.

Reece DeMille of Republic Services, which provides the recycling program in Pleasant Grove, said he is not aware of any other glass recycling program in Utah County, but expects the service will expand as cities and residents discover it is available, and as long as there is a market for the crushed glass.

“I’m from Washington state, where we have always recycled glass, and we get people moving in who have done it in other states and they wonder where the glass recycling program is here,” DeMille said.

He and Selden each emphasized that glass must not be put into curbside recycling in Utah Valley. The drop-off in Pleasant Grove is the only acceptable collection method.

The glass collection bin is located at 60 S. 100 East in Pleasant Grove. Anyone can drop off glass free of charge. However, city officials warned that if items other than glass are dumped in the bin, the program will be discontinued.

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