LITTLE VALLEY – Cattaraugus County is exploring ways to increase its recycling revenue, including perhaps by accepting colored glass.
Currently, the county accepts only clear glass at its transfer facilities, But Linda McAndrew, county waste management coordinator, told the Legsilature’s Public Works Committee on Wednesday that expanding the glass recylcing program and other ideas have potential for increasing revenue.
“Last year, 122 tons of clear glass were collected at our transfer stations,” she said. “We received $39 per ton for the glass, giving us $4,758.”
McAndrew said her research had shown that about 25-percent of the glass collected for recycling is colored. The largest source of colored glass in the United States are beverages that carry a return deposit.
One company has expressed interest in the colored glass from the county facilities, but is even more interested in other recyclables, she said, explaining that Cattaraugus County has developed a reputation for having good paper and cardboard and that a deal is being developed.
“Our paper and cardboard is always very clean and ready to go,” McAndrew said.
Ken Beverly, county hauling supervisor, said, “Paper and cardboard is worth more if it is not baled. We do a good job making sure our materials are ready for them.”
In fact, one facility the county has used in the past has gone so far as to give county trucks preferential treatment in parking, as well as assistance in unloading, McAndrew said.
There is a problem on the horizon for the department, though, McAndrew said. The amount of garbage brought to the transfer station is on the decline. McAndrew said. From Jan. 1, 2012, to March 31, 2012, the transfer stations brought in 1,848 tons of garbage, taking 95 truckloads of it to landfill. Over that same period this year, 1,383 tons have been brought to the facility, resulting in only 71 loads to landfill.
To compare yearly numbers, in 2011 the facilities were being paid $138.44 per ton for their refuse. That yielded revenue of $1,139,473.
In 2012, the same amount of garbage brought $107.70 per ton, for a revenue of $1,006,332.
McAndrew projects that, with current prices, revenue will fall $154,200 short of last year’s number.
“There is nothing we can do,” McAndrew said. “We are not in competition with waste collection services. All we can do in concentrate on the services we do provide.”
Some steps have been taken to increase revenue. Over the last year, the following suggestions by those working at the transfer stations have been implemented, with the revenue achieved:
• Cutting cords off dumped appliances, $6,200
• Separation of precious metals from other garbage and metals, $8,950
• Collection of deposit cans from garbage, $817 since October 2012
The county also has begun removing ink cartridges from dumped printers, but that effort is so new that no dollar estimate is available yet.
The kinds of plastics that can be recycled also will be expanding, McAndrew said. But that information is not yet ready because the program is still under development.