PORT ORANGE, Fla. — On October 1, the city of Port Orange discontinued glass recycling. While it’s a change that has some residents concerned, the mayor says the decision links back to the Chinese government.
While glass recycling has now ended in Port Orange, for the last 18 months, even the recycled glass has ended up in the landfill, according to city officials.
“All the recycled glass that we’ve had come to us is going through our recycler and going into the landfill instead," said Mayor Don Burnette. "So what we’ve decided to do is instead of paying the extra money to run it through our recycler, until that after market recovers, we are going to go ahead and send it directly to the landfill."
Why is the recycled glass going in the landfill? Burnette claims it’s because China used to buy 75 percent of it — but now no one wants it.
“Now they have an effort where they don’t want to take any overseas recycling at all. That’s a long-term initiative of China. So the Chinese market, which was very strong towards recycling both plastic and glass, has completely gone away,” Burnette said.
Burnette said the city would get a rebate from the recyclers once the glass was sold, but with it going into the landfill, that rebate is gone.
Then with the cost of recycling pick-up being $80 a ton, while regular trash is only $34 a ton, it ends up costing much more money for that glass to end up in the landfill.
"In essence we are cutting out the middle man until we are able to begin recycling glass again," Burnette said,
The mayor was clear that this is not a final solution. He hopes one day they will go back to recycling glass.
“As soon as we can begin to recycle glass again and find a recycler that’s able to take it in a cost effective manner, we’ll do it again — we’ve not given up,” Burnette said.
5) Current Recycling
Despite the end of glass recycling, Port Orange is still continuing with the rest of its recycling guidelines. They are still accepting aluminum, paper, cardboard, and plastics among other materials.