My town just got even better.
Here’s what happened. (First, I’ll refer you to the previous post for the first half of this story from my perspective.) On Friday, November 14th, I began to research the subject of local glass recycling in earnest. I called several numbers at Waste Management in order to try to find out why they didn’t offer glass in our curbside recycling program here. I got one live person who could see the restrictions on our local service but who could not see the reason why. At the other numbers he gave me, I got endless ringing with no answer nor answering machine. I considered that route a dead end.
Then I called Bill Rudy at BYU Recycling to ask more questions about their program. (I had contacted him last year for my daughter’s group biology project on glass recycling. They do not recycle glass on campus. Yet.) He pointed me in the direction of the Recycling Coalition of Utah. Their website indicated there was still no glass recycling in Utah County. (No one had told them about Target, I guess.) Bill also talked me through the process of screening recyclables and why it’s expensive to add glass to a no-sort bin. He suggested I talk to the scrap metal recycling center out on Geneva Road. I had talked to them on the phone last year as well, but was willing to give it another try.
I went down to their office and asked some questions. They don’t recycle glass because they can’t make enough money off it. I asked if they ever get requests for glass service, to which the mustached man behind the counter replied, “Yes, quite a bit.” “So,” I said, “people want to recycle glass but you can’t make it viable?” “Yup,” was his answer. I had to wonder who was running their finances. But, he said, the town of Pleasant Grove has a drop-off bin by their town office building. Great news! This meant that public glass recycling DID exist within the county!
I headed straight over to Pleasant Grove to check it out and it was legit. I went into the town office and asked the secretary if she could tell me more about how it had been arranged, how long it had been there, and who got it up and running. Next, I phoned the local City Council member who had arranged it all. She was very nice and seemed excited that I was interested in their project. She gave me the number for the man over at Republic Services who handles the Pleasant Grove account. He was very helpful in figuring out the numbers: capacity, frequency, what really goes in, who decides when to empty it, what they might charge Orem to do the same, etc. Hope was rising.
Next, I had a similar conversation with the sales manager at Rocky Mountain Recycling who handles the drop-off bin in Draper City. He gave me lots of very helpful information and numbers. I felt ready to talk to the City of Orem about their contract with Waste Management. I headed over to the City offices and made an appointment with the Assistant City Manager for the next Monday. I began prepping a list of questions for him.
Not bad for a Friday morning.
On Monday, I went to see Brenn Bybee, Orem’s Assistant City Manager. He’s a very personable, cheerful man. After I explained why I had come, he started to laugh. He said that he had mistaken me for the representative from Waste Management with whom he was also meeting that day… regarding the possibility of testing a glass drop-off bin. He had also invited a director from Public Works to join us. The three of us spent a few minutes discussing the coincidence and sharing the similarities of our position on the need for glass recycling in Orem (and recycling in general). I was able to share the information I had collected from various sources, which I hoped would give them more motivation and leverage. When I told them that PG already had a bin and that it was doing very well, they looked sideways at each other and said, chuckling, “Anything Pleasant Grove can do, we can do better!” That was the point at which I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I offered to be of any help they might need, thanked them for being on top of this subject already, and bade them goodbye.
Christmas and the beginning of the New Year passed, and at the end of January I got a resident flyer in the mail from the City of Orem. On the back of the report of how Orem fared in 2014, there was a notice announcing that a new glass recycling bin would be open to the public in February. I was ecstatic! I put it on every social medium I use. I had been saving clean glass in my pantry for months and was very ready to get rid of it.
On February 10th, I took two of my children with me as we went to dump 3 reusable grocery bags full of glass. Our bags contained jam, salsa, pickle, pasta sauce, and peanut butter jars as well as spice, vinegar, oil, salad dressing and soda bottles, and apple cider bottles from the holidays. It was a fest of free, crashing, loud fun as we put them in the big green bin. It was also being well-used; there was a lot of glass already there, both from households and from local businesses (bars). To say thank you, I took flowers over to Mr. Bybee’s office today… in a very large clean jam jar for a vase.
We are on our way. I have no idea how long it will take for curbside, no-sort glass recycling in Orem, but at this point I am celebrating the major step that the City has taken forward.
Orem recycles glass!
Location: 1450 West 550 North, Orem. Go west on 400 North, turn right on 1500 West, turn right on 550 North. The bin is located at the far left of the first parking lot.