LIMA — Beginning June 1, Putnam County residents can recycle their glass containers, removing about 155 tons of refuse from being deposited in landfills.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency awarded Putnam County a $100,000 grant to purchase glass collection bins and roll-off containers and to upgrade the transfer station as part of a county-wide recycling initiative. The county also will be working with Rumpke Recycling, who will be transporting and processing the glass.
“The grant money is solely to get our glass program up and running,” Community Recycling Coordinator Ashley Siefker said, “and we will be able to sustain it once we get all these improvements made.”
She said the county intends to contribute $24,000 to help with the purchase of recycling bins and to assist with any other costs.
Putnam County deposited about 140 tons of recycled glass in the Hancock County landfill during the past year, Siefker said, and the county spent about $9,000 per year in labor, transportation and fees to dump the glass at the landfill.
Commissioner Vincent Schroeder said county officials have been working hard on trying to find a market for recycled glass during the past year and “it was a constant problem that the Ohio EPA actually helped us solve.”
When the program is fully operational, she estimates they should be able to remove more than 155 tons of glass from the county’s waste stream and Putnam County Solid Waste Management District workers intend to actively seek recycled beverage containers and other types of glass from residents, restaurants, taverns and other sources to reach a greater level of glass recycling.
Within four years, Solid Waste officials anticipate glass recycling in Putnam County will surpass 200 tons annually.
“We are trying to be good stewards of the environment,” Commissioner John Love said. “Our goal was to take a product, like glass, out of the waste stream and not to add to it. This offers a long-term solution.”
The Solid Waste District is partnering with Rumpke Recycling to have the glass transported from the county for free. The recycled glass will be taken to Rumpke’s glass recycling site for processing.
“Improvements in technology have made this transition possible,” Commissioner Travis Jerwers said. “We no longer have to be selective about separating colors or size. Sophisticated machinery will do all the sorting in the Rumpke glass recycling facility in Dayton.”
The county already recycles cardboard and paper, which includes newspapers and magazines, glass, plastic, and aluminum and other types of metal to reduce refuse reaching the landfill. In 2004, the county’s recycling rate was 11 percent while the latest data shows the recycling rate for the county at 61 percent.