The global recycling market is facing challenges. Recyclables are commodities, and their value fluctuates over time. Recycling of some materials, such as glass, has often become more expensive than disposing of it through a waste-to-energy facility or a landfill.
In Alexandria, our record-high recycling rate demonstrates the commitment our government and our community have to recycling. It is frustrating when we hear that glass collected for recycling by our contractors ends up in landfills instead.
We are reluctant to discourage residents and businesses from placing glass in recycling bins, both because we don’t want to upset decades of improving recycling habits and because we are still hopeful that a new glass processing facility could enter the market.
The City is working to address these and other resource recovery issues as part of our update of the Environmental Action Plan and the WasteSmart Strategic Plan, a roadmap that will guide the City’s refuse, recycling, and organics collection for the next 20 years.
The City is actively monitoring the market for a viable option to recycle glass and working with our neighbors to propose and advocate for innovative solutions. We are planning to launch glass drop-off centers across Alexandria this fiscal year to provide an option to recover and recycle glass. We will also continue education efforts to strengthen communication with the community. Finally, WasteSmart will work to recover our resources in a way that considers social benefits, economics, and the environment.
The City needs your input to create a strong plan. We invite you to provide feedback at our WasteSmart Open House at City Hall on Oct. 18, at 7 p.m., and further discuss these issues and the future of Alexandria’s sustainable waste management. For more information on WasteSmart, please visit alexandriava.gov/WasteSmart.