City stops taking glass in curbside recycling

Clear glass is seen in a container at the city's Warner Park recycling center on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The city is seeking public input after deciding to end the collection of glass in its single-stream curbside recycling program.

The city of Chattanooga says it's going to stop accepting glass in its curbside recycling program, and it is asking recycling participants if they would pay to keep glass collection going using separate containers.

Chattanooga's City Wide Services Division sent postcards last week to participating households announcing the end of curbside glass pickup and asking them to take an online survey.

The post card says glass put into curbside recycling bins is likely to break, mixing with other recycling and making it difficult to sort. That means the entire contents of the bin would end up in the landfill.

It's an ongoing problem. The city added glass to its curbside recycling around the fall of 2014 after it introduced the 96-gallon blue bins. But in August 2015, the Times Free Press reported the glass - and the other recyclables with it in the bins - was being landfilled because it was too dangerous to sort.

At that time the city had a contract with Orange Grove Center that paid about 80 of its clients to sort recyclables. Orange Grove, which provides services for physically and developmentally disabled people, started raising money for a modern sorting system that would cost about $2 million to buy and install.

Take the survey

› Take the city’s recycling survey at› Sign up online for curbside recycling at Signup or call 311 or 423-643-6311.

But in July 2016, the paper reported the city was being forced to end its partnership with Orange Grove after 24 years because of federal regulations requiring "greater community engagement" in places where people with intellectual disabilities can work. The city transferred the work to another facility, according to Orange Grove.

The survey asks residents whether they recycle glass at curbside, at a recycling center or not at all.

It also asks if they would use a separate, glass-only cart if that was the only way to keep recycling it at curbside, and if they would be willing to pay $5 or $10 a month to keep curbside recycling for glass.

No information was available Friday on how long the survey will be online or whether the city is considering charging a fee for curbside recycling.

The city also takes glass and other recyclables at its five drop-off centers on Brainerd Road, East Third Street, Kellys Ferry Road, BattersPlace Road and North Access Road.