Cardiff council is looking at rolling out separate glass collections across the Welsh capital early next year, in a move which it says could save it £55 per tonne of glass collected.
The proposed move would follow a change to collection days from February 2021, when crews will be moving to a four day week.
The separate glass collection follows a successful trial the council undertook in 2018, where 17,000 properties received a lockable container for glass.
Currently, the council offers a dry mixed recycling service for properties outside the trial, as well as a separate food and garden collection.
Cardiff operates an in-house collection service and sends household recycling to its own Lamby Way materials recycling facility.
Matthew Wakelam, the council’s assistant director of Street Scene, told a meeting of Cardiff’s environmental scrutiny committee on 3 November: “We’re looking at the benefits to the material recovery facility where we hand-sort material at the moment. You can imagine that when smashed glass goes through there it’s not very good, so if we can separate that out it does two things.
“It improves the quality of material that goes through the material recovery facility, which gives us better prices and less waste, and it improves health and safety and working conditions for those that are sorting.”
Mr Wakelam said the council could generate an income from separating the glass. He told the committee it currently cost the council £35 to dispose of a tonne of glass, whereas they could sell a tonne of separated glass for £20.
Cardiff trialled a separate glass collection in 2018. Residents of around 17,000 homes were given blue bins into which they could put bottles and jars. Mr Wakelam said the trial had seen very few complaints from residents.
“Glass is probably my next project”
He moved to assuage fears that a separate glass collection could cause disruption by being particularly noisy.
He said: “Letters have also been sent out to residents explaining how successful the trial was. We had very few complaints about the glass collection.
“We use specially insulated vehicles. Obviously, it is a noisy collection, it is top loaded, but they are insulated vehicles.”
With an estimated population of more than 364,000, Cardiff had a recycling rate of 59% in 2019.
Earlier this year, the council briefly sent recyclables to Viridor’s Trident Park energy from waste plant as a result of the coronavirus outbreak (see letsrecycle.com story). It announced in May it would cease doing so from June (see letsrecycle.com story).
Mr Wakelam estimated that, if introduced, a separate collection of glass could improve Cardiff’s recycling rate by 1%, something he suggested would be “no mean feat”.