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home : news : news Saturday, June 25, 2016

3/29/2014 Email this articlePrint this article 
Glass recycling may resume at Clinton County landfill

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

Many Clinton County residents likely are unaware their glass containers have been going into the landfill for the last several years, but that could change now that the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency (CCASWA) has identified a potential glass vendor.

Despite a longstanding recycling program, the agency has been unable to recycle glass since 2008 because it couldn't find anyone willing to buy the product. Without a vendor to purchase the glass, it has been winding up in the landfill with other household and business waste, but CCASWA director Brad Seward said last week he has a potential buyer lined up.

Ripple Glass of Kansas City, which supplies bottles to Boulevard Brewing Co., is interested in taking the material in a form that will require minimal labor by CCASWA staff, which was the other obstacle to resuming the glass recycling program, Seward said.

"In my opinion, this is the best option we've had in quite some time regarding our glass. This is something I think is very promising and could at least get glass out of the landfill and back in the recycling bins," Seward said.

Asked by Camanche representative Trevor Willis about the cost, Seward said Ripple Glass will charge $38 per ton to haul the material away, which would make it a break-even proposition at current glass prices.

A deal would require CCASWA to spend some money to build an outdoor storage area, Seward said, but it wouldn't require any additional labor beyond dumping the glass bin into a truck.

Labor and material costs have hindered past glass recycling efforts because vendors would only accept the glass if it was crushed, requiring substantial labor, and packaged in expensive Gaylord boxes, Seward noted.

"It has always been a hot button question, why are we putting glass in the landfill when we recycle here? The answer is we didn't have a market for it," he said.

Clinton County representative John Staszewski asked why residents are still asked to separate glass into recycling bins if it's entering the waste stream anyway.

"We wanted to keep people in the habit because we knew this day would come," Seward said.

Seward said he hopes CCASWA can resume glass recycling sometime this fall.

"Right now, it's just in the discussion stage. We're trying to look at some things logistically to see how we could go about carrying that out," he said.

In addition to producing bottles, Ripple Glass is involved in re-using glass in insulation products, Seward noted.

"So it's definitely a good re-use opportunity. There are several facilities in the state of Iowa that are using them," he said.

More info sought on equipment bids

The agency board of directors delayed action on bids to rebuild the engine of a Caterpillar brand end loader in order to compare them with the cost of purchasing new or used equipment.

Bids ranged from $16,000-$25,000, but the board opted to wait after employee Ed Clark shared concerns about the machine's condition and directed Seward to obtain bids for a full replacement.

Although it has accrued only 4,000 hours of run time, the loader is 30 years old and has endured extra stress because it operated for a lengthy period with mismatched front and back tires, Clark said.

Seward said he expects prices to come in at about $50,000 for a used end loader and about $100,000 for a new machine.

Board approves audit

The board unanimously approved the 2013 audit report after a presentation from Andrea Rumler of accounting firm Winkel, Parker & Foster.

The audit presented a clean opinion and showed CCASWA ended the year with approximately $10 million in assets and $1.9 million in liabilities.

Three material weaknesses were noted: segregation of duties, due to CCASWA's small staff; financial statement preparation, due to the fact the statements are prepared by the same firm conducting the audit; and accounts receivable reconciliation, due to inconsistencies between the bill listing and the general ledger.

Seward was criticized by Clinton representative Grant Wilke for asking the board to approve the audit without more time to review the report, which must be filed with the state by March 31.

Seward said he normally allows more time for review, but CCASWA wasn't able to get on the accountant's schedule any earlier due to conflicts from both parties.

Rumler said the audit typically is presented in December or January, allowing plenty of time for review.

"It's just the scheduling ball was dropped. It needed to be done sooner," Seward said, adding he's already made arrangements for an earlier presentation next year.

Other business

In other business:

•Staszewski was appointed board secretary/treasurer.

•Seward reported on a March 11 site visit by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

•The board reviewed potential updates to the employee handbook but took no action. Seward said human resources consultant Paul Greufe won't be available to attend a board meeting for several months.

•Seward reviewed proposed legislation that could impact CCASWA. The majority of the legislation are "clean-up bills" that deal with terms and definitions, he said.

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