Recycle Utah may no longer accept some glass
Recycle Utah Executive Director Insa Riepen envisions an angel with a green halo and $30,000 stepping up to ensure the center can continue recycling glass in Park City. Those who drink Budweiser, Coors or most microbrews shouldn’t fret the recycling center at 1951 Woodbine Way, will continue to accept brown-colored glass. Starting Friday, however, the bin for green and clear glass will be closed. The bottom recently fell out of Utah’s glass market and one of the state’s few glass recyclers in Salt Lake County has more broken bottles than he can handle, Riepen said. "This is a statewide crisis," she said, adding that Recycle Utah can no longer deliver green and clear glass to the smelter. "I have not found a solution." If the non-profit group can’t raise $30,000 per year to ship glass in railroad cars to California, Parkites may need to find other ways to dispose of their empty wine bottles and salad-dressing jars. "I’d hate to see glass go away," said Tollgate resident DuWayne Effland, who delivered several containers full of bottles to Park City Monday for recycling from many of his neighbors near Silver Creek. "Breaking glass is the best way in the world to release stress." According to Riepen, in July, Recycle Utah processed 37.2 tons of green and clear glass through its Park City facility. The nonprofit recycled almost 60 tons last January, when Park City is busy with the Sundance Film Festival. "My expectation is we’ll probably find a solution of some kind," Summit County Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan said, adding that the county could ship smaller amounts of glass out of state. "There are other players in the region that might be able to help us out on this." The county pays a private company, County Curbside, roughly $150,000 per year to pick up recyclable material at homes in Park City and South Summit. Curbside and other private recycling businesses in Summit County dump glass at Recycle Utah. "It’s pretty big news," Curbside co-owner Shirin Spangenberg said. "That has a lot to do with our business." She and her husband also operate Curb It, a private firm that performs curbside pickups. "We’ll do whatever we can to do something with the glass," Spangenberg said. Her partner in County Curbside, Park City Councilor Joe Kernan, says there are other glass buyers around the state who could meet the demands of businesses smaller than Recycle Utah. The Glass Recycling Group, where Recycle Utah currently takes glass, should soon begin accepting more material, he said. "The question is, is there going to be a demand for it in the future?" Kernan said, adding that County Curbside and his company, Good Earth Recycling, may store material until the glass buying resumes in Salt Lake. "When will he start taking additional material?" According to Callahan, "it’s a short-term problem." But Riepen counters that the Salt Lake "source has dried up." Recycle Utah received $17,000 from Summit County in 2005 for its operations. City Hall owns Recycle Utah’s facility and, along with $9,577 in grants for rent, gave the center $14,750 in cash this year. "It would be a big change if we are unable to find a buyer," Kernan said. "We might store a little (glass)." Riepen is counting on private donors to meet the funding shortfall, adding, "glass is 100 percent recyclable, but if you don’t, it hangs around forever." For almost a month, Recycle Utah has been paying about $3 per bin to store Park City glass while the Salt Lake smelter is unavailable, Park City Councilor Candy Erickson said. "We definitely do not want this glass going in the landfill," she said. The Recycle Utah board authorized Riepen to ship a railroad car full of glass out of state, Erickson added. "We thought it would be solved by now & it looks like it’s going to take longer than we expected," she said, adding that shipping one load of glass costs several thousand dollars. "Basically, what we were told was this was a temporary situation."
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.