Curbside Recycle Is Heading Straight To The Landfill. Here's Why.

Sep 4, 2019

Some of the items you put in residential recycle bins — glass and certain plastics, in particular — is going directly to landfills. That's because the recycling market is at a low ebb right now.

PDC provides recycling services for about 30 communities, but the company currently loses money on its recycling program.

The company's vice president, Matt Coulter, points to three major problems: recycled glass, cardboard and number three through seven plastic.

"Anything like a yogurt container, fruit container or cottage cheese container — you name it, those are products you cannot get rid of right now," Coulter said. "There's no marketability, so I think you're going to continue to see a trend of those being eliminated from recycling programs."

Coulter said there are no nearby plants to process these recycled items, resulting in big transportation costs to ship them as far as China.

Asian countries have also recently set strict new standards for the level of contamination in recycled glass. Those nations are actually sending some ships back to America when they do not meet the standards.

The alternative is to process glass locally, but there are no plants currently doing so.

"It's very hard on equipment, causes lots of damage and other issues — safety of employees," Coulter said.