|Is it worth it?|
I was glad when the City of El Paso began a glass recycling pilot project but take a look at these figures:
A total of 218.5 cubic yards of glass have been crushed or 31.14 tons. The cost for processing that glass is $7,478 to date or $1,496 per month.
However, the amount saved by crushing the glass rather than taking it to the landfill has only been $3,496 or $699/month. That comes out to a total loss so far of $3,982 to date or $796 per month.
In short the City is subsidizing the crushed glass to the tune of almost $800 per month.
On the other hand, people have been using the glass for mulch although that number has dropped to zero over the last month. The only way that the pilot can be successful is for the City to charge a fee for the glass cullet or find a paying customer. Only questions, of course, are whether El Pasoans will pay a fee and whether the fee can be reasonable enough. With sand 10,000 feet deep in some areas of the city, one has to wonder if glass recycling in El Paso is worth it. The City is sure to close the project after the trial year if it continues to lose $9,600 per year.
CEMEX was interested in taking the glass but they wanted more tonnage than the crusher produces. (Crushed glass in cement sparkles and, of course, costs the manufacturer less especially if they are getting the glass for free.) If a smaller cement company would buy the crusher from the City, then the City might be able to supply the recycled glass to them - again for a fee perhaps.
Friedman, the company that takes El Paso blue bin recyclables, has noticed more glass in those blue bins since the crusher program began. That means that sorting recyclables is more expensive. It seems that El Pasoans know about the glass recycling program; they just don't know that it is a separate recycling process from the blue bin.