Baton Rouge officials rethinking glass recycling identify part of the problem: People aren't always good at sorting _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Garbage is off-loaded at the Progress Recycling plant on Tom Drive. Paper, plastic and glass all comes in from the trucks onto conveyor belts before separation is done by workers and machines. Glass is separated with bits of paper, metal and other materials.

Baton Rouge city-parish leaders said Tuesday that glass will remain part of curbside recycling for residents, despite previously citing concerns about rising processing costs and a low demand for used glass as a reason to drop the service.

To keep glass out of the parish landfill, recycling company Progressive will charge the city-parish an additional $400,000 a year. The cost will be passed on to customers in the form of a 25 cent increase per household per month, contingent on Metro Council approval.

Today, households pay $1.76 per month for the recycling service, which is tucked into their overall garbage collection bills of $19 per month.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council is slated to approve contract renewals for city-parish garbage and recycling contracts on Wednesday. The contracts have been in place for 10 years, and the renewal will extend them from Oct. 31, 2015, to Feb. 28, 2018.

“The administration feels very strongly about recycling,” said William Daniel, chief administrative officer for Mayor-President Kip Holden. “We always wanted to keep recycling glass, and as we worked with Progressive, they were willing to come down on the price.”

Progressive initially quoted the city-parish an increase of $735,000 to keep glass processing, but subsequently came down on that price, according to Daniel.

Many cities across the country have removed glass as part of their curbside recycling programs because there is a lack of a market for glass.

Last year, 1,064 tons of glass were collected in East Baton Rouge, about 7 percent of the 15,211 tons of recycling collected in total. About half of that amount is paper, including newspapers and corrugated cardboard.

The going rate for glass is $10 to $25 per ton of glass, whereas aluminum can be sold for $980 per ton and plastic for $400 to $500 per ton.

If the council approves the new contract with the inclusion of glass, the 25 cent increase will go into effect at the end of October when the new contract starts.

But another increase, capped at 4 percent, is allowed under the contract beginning in November 2016.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen. For more coverage of city-parish government, follow the City Hall Buzz blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/cityhallbuzz.