On Tuesday night, the city of Laramie and several other groups hosted a forum to brainstorm solutions to the problem of glass recycling, which has recently stopped in Laramie. ARC Regional Services says they lost thousands of dollars a year because they had to ship glass recycling to Wheatland, Colorado. That’s where Rocky Mountain Bottling Company turns it into beer bottles.
Now, the city is trying to think of creative solutions. Steve Derus is the waste manager for Colorado’s Front Range. He suggested sending glass recycling back in empty semis that are headed to Denver. “A backhaul is always something that cuts your transportation costs in half,” he says. “So if someone’s bringing a product from Denver, we hire a truck, third party trucker, national hauler. So tires going to Steamboat Springs, we bring a load of recycling back.”
ARC Recycling Coordinator, Bill Vance, says it might be better to use the glass in aggregates like asphalt and concrete, and skip the need to ship it altogether. Whatever the solution, it’s going to mean convincing people to pay a few cents more—either at the landfill or on their utility bill—and that could be the biggest sticking point of all.