Memo for fiscal year 2021, updated 2020-02-20

[Archived] Question # 06: What would it cost to add glass recycling at the farmer's markets?


What would it cost to add glass recycling at the farmer's markets? (Mayor Wilson)


Staff has evaluated the collection of glass at the farmer’s markets as part of the existing food waste and compost program. Due to the dense and crowded nature of farmer’s markets, staff are concerned with safety and liability. When glass is accidentally dropped and shattered, there may be issues of broken shards injuring people or dogs walking in tight areas. The composting program at the farmer’s markets has increased by nearly 100% from year one to year five. The footprint required for the food waste carts has grown, and staff anticipates that it may expand even further as the awareness and popularity of the composting program grows. The growth of this program directly impacts the ability to expand other program in the current space.  Given these circumstances, staff does not recommend collecting glass at farmer’s markets in conjunction with the composting program at this time.  

In order to achieve glass recycling in conjunction with farmers market, the City could purchase o a dedicated glass collection trailer and run a pilot program. The trailer could move between all City farmer’s markets and be used for other special events like Earth Day. The trailer costs about $30,000 and could hold up to 5 tons of glass. Glass collection may be possible at the markets if enough parking space can be secured for the trailer which is currently a first-come first-served model for the vendors at the markets. This trailer and truck would require approximately 45 feet by 8 feet of parking space.  

Staff recommends the trailer to be staffed, so someone is on hand to sweep and dispose of any broken glass during drop-off hours. For the pilot program, staff recommends starting with one trailer for a short period of time to evaluate the effectiveness of this model of glass collection prior to purchasing additional assets. Since the trailer is more mobile than a 40-yard purple bin, the City may consider piloting the collection at other locations as well. Staff notes that because the trailer option is smaller than a 40-yard bin, it would require more frequent dumping with the processor, requiring additional truck emissions. 

A grant opportunity may also be available to cover the cost of the trailer. Staff will evaluate this grant opportunity and, if feasible, bring to Council for consideration later this year. Given that the grant would only cover the cost of the trailer, additional funding for labor and operations would still be required in order to launch a pilot. 

Below is a table showing the total estimated cost of operating one trailer for year 1 and year 2. 

BM 06 GlassRecycling Table 1(1)

For comparison, the annual cost for the current purple bin program with 5 bins is $40,000. It costs $8,000 to operate one purple roll-off bin per year versus $43,100 for a trailer after equipment is paid off. 

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