RIRRC nearing a deal to recycle glass again

RIRRC nearing a deal to recycle glass again

JOHNSTON - State officials are "closing in on a solution" to the problem of glass items getting dumped in the Central Landfill.

Sarah Kite-Reeves, director of recycling services for Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., said that RIRRC will "have something to report very soon" on fixing the issue of all those glass recyclables going straight into the dump, but could say nothing further.

Johnston state Rep. Stephen Ucci got a bill passed in 2012 effectively banning glass from being crushed up and used as a covering material between layers of trash. Many tons of glass have gone straight in the landfill since Ucci's bill, which was motivated by a desire to get rid of a strong odor issue that was plaguing Rhode Island at the time.

According to Kite-Reeves, not all glass is going into the landfill now. Officials currently send some items to Reflective Recycling in Connecticut, "as much as they are able to accept," said Kite-Reeves, and more is delivered to SMI in Massachusetts. That company has "space and storage limitations," she said, "but when they're able to accept deliveries, some glass goes there."

Kite-Reeves said it's still important for Rhode Island residents to stay in the habit of putting glass in recycling bins and carts so officials will "always have a supply ready to ship when the recyclers can accept a shipment."

Ucci has said he understands why residents have been upset with his original bill to ban the use of construction debris and organic material as a covering at the landfill. Glass was the last item mentioned on a list of banned materials in that bill.

The lawmaker has emphasized that his motivation was to curb odors from the landfill and that he wasn't aware that glass from recycling bins was being crushed up and used for the cover layers. Ideally, he told various news outlets, it would be best if officials can find a way to actually recycle the glass and avoid using it as the covering material.

Kite-Reeves said there were attempts made in the 2014 legislative session to amend Ucci's bill to remove the words "and glass," but the amendment never made it to the floor of either the House or Senate.