Marquette County residents misled on glass recycling since 2012

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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority hasn’t been recycling glass since 2012.

That’s five years of glass being put into recycling bins only to be dumped at the landfill.

According to Director Brad Austin, since he took over as director in 2015 he’s been actively working toward finding a market to take the glass, but to no avail.

While he was looking for a market the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority (that serves multiple municipalities in Marquette Coutny) kept glass among the recyclable materials processed, misleading residents.

As of January 1, 2018 the landfill in Sands Township stopped accepting glass recyclables, and since then the Marquette City Commission has started looking into how to restart recycling glass again.

Why wasn’t the public made aware their glass wasn’t being sent off to be recycled?

It’s a complicated answer according to Austin, who says it has much to do with a decision made by a former director, a rough transition of power, and an honest attempt to make it right that so far has failed.

Rick Aho was the director in 2012 when glass stopped being recycled. Austin had no knowledge of what led to that decision.

When Austin took over in 2015 he said it was an abrupt transition, but that same year he started a plan to upgrade the overall recycling equipment at the facility and find a market for glass. With a possible change in the future to start recycling glass again, Austin didn’t call for a change in how glass was being collected.

In early 2017, the recycling equipment was upgraded, but still no market for glass had been found. The Solid Waste Authority Board (that oversees the operation and management of the landfill) was notified according to Austin.

In October 2017, it was made official that glass will no longer be among the recyclable materials processed by the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority as of January 1, 2018.

When it comes to who was footing the bill for the glass, Austin said the landfill has been eating up the cost from 2012-2018. The glass was still being included as a recyclable and the landfill doesn’t charge a tipping fee for delivered recyclables.

Now glass is included in the regular trash, adding to the overall weight.
TV6 & FOX UP will continue to investigate this story further and will keep you updated with the latest information.