It is with some sadness that I must announce a restriction on our recycling program. After careful and lengthy consideration, Whitman County, the City of Pullman, and Pullman Disposal Service are no longer accepting glass in the mix of materials allowed in the recycling. Moving forward, please do not put glass in the recycling rollcart.
Grace Period: If you have glass in your rollcart as you are first learning of this “glass ban,” there is no need to pull the glass out. We don’t want anyone hurting themselves trying to fish glass out of their rollcart! Just don’t put anymore glass in the recycling rollcart going forward.
Effective 12/13/17, this new policy was arrived at in order to improve the quality of the remaining recyclables. During the collection and baling process, glass would shatter into tiny shards. These glass shards would mix and embed into the other recyclables that were collected – especially paper and cardboard. The glass shards significantly lowered the quality and therefore the usability of these other recyclables.
China, the main end user of our recyclable materials, will implement a new policy called the National Sword at the end of 2017. This policy requires that the recyclables China imports have significantly less contamination. China has threatened to refuse to accept recyclable materials that don’t meet the new standards. Thus it is of great importance to eliminate the contamination caused by glass shards.
Additionally, the glass shards have caused a great deal of damage to the county’s processing equipment. The county has spent many tens of thousands of dollars in making repairs to their baler and conveyor belts used to process the recycling materials. This heavy equipment was not designed to handle broken glass.
Glass is not a scarce resource. Glass now has a negative value. It should be thrown away. It just doesn’t make economic or environmental sense to create a separate route to collect glass separately in order to recycle it. The carbon sent into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels to collect glass is more harmful to the environment than any benefit that glass recycling may deliver.
If possible, please inform those you live or work with of this change to the recycling program. If you would like to continue recycling glass, you may take it to the county transfer station and landfill (located 5 miles north of Pullman on SR 195) to recycle it. We apologize for the inconvenience. We believe that the increased quality and usability of the other recyclables in the recycling mix makes removing glass the environmentally correct choice. Thank you.