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Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority endorses pilot glass separation program

December 7, 2018

DANBURY — Glass will now be recycled separately from the rest of the single stream materials collected at transfer stations throughout the area.

The move comes after the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority endorsed a two-year pilot program Friday morning to collect glass in separate containers at all nine of the transfer stations in the region, rather than on a town by town basis. The goal is reduce contamination in recycling and make the material more profitable in a stricter market.

While profitable when it’s clean, glass becomes a contaminant as it breaks through the recycling process and attaches to other materials.

“It’s a pilot,” said Jennifer Heaton-Jones, the authority’s executive director. “It is a test, but hopefully this won’t be temporary. It will become a permanent solution.”

Bethel, Danbury, Kent, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield already have their containers or the containers are on their way. New Milford, Bridgewater and New Fairfield still need to get those containers.

The authority’s executive committee is reviewing the contract with Oak Ridge Waste and Recycling, which will bring the glass from the transfer stations to a glass processing facility. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection also needs to approve the pilot but has given the authority the go ahead to start separating the glass at the transfer stations. Removing glass from curbside recycling will have to wait until the pilot is approved.

A large reason for the pilot is China’s policy to crackdown on what materials it collects and strictly enforce the 0.5 percent contamination rate. This stricter rate has driven up tipping fees because haulers aren’t getting the revenue they used to by selling the materials they collect.

This story will be updated.

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