Little Rock Board Of Directors To Vote On Curbside Glass Recycling Resolution

Dec 3, 2019

In this file photo, glass bottles lay inside an Ace Glass recycling bin.
Credit Sarah Kellogg / KUAR News

Little Rock City Directors will vote Tuesday on a resolution that would return curbside glass recycling to the city’s residents.

According to the resolution, an estimated 59,000 households within the city will pay a rate of $3.39 a month for curbside glass recycling pickup. That’s in addition to the rate residents pay for other recycling services through Waste Management. 

The city issued a "Request for Proposal" for a curbside glass pick up service in September. Ace Glass, a private company that launched a glass collecting service for the area in January submitted a bid and according to the resolution "submitted the lowest responsible and responsive bid" for a two-year contract with the city.

Courtney Little, president of Ace Glass, says while they were the only entity to submit a bid for the RFP, he believes their bid would have been competitive if others had submitted proposals. Little said one advantage of their proposal is a reliance on people as opposed to machinery.

"We’re going to use people power instead of equipment power to get that done, which does two things. One, it puts more money back into the community and provides good jobs to people who are looking for those kinds of jobs right now," Little said. "And second, it reduces contamination because someone actually puts their eyes on what’s in the recycling bin."

According to Little, the service would pick up glass every other week. He says most of the feedback on the proposed service has been positive. However, Little has also heard from those against the monthly fee.

"We’ve had some people say 'I don’t recycle, don’t want to recycle and don’t want to pay for it.' And that’s the one that probably hurts the most and is the worst for us is that they’re still a number of people in any community that are not engaged with recycling," Little said. As far as Tuesday’s anticipated vote, Little says he is cautiously optimistic the Board of Directors will approve it. 

"Even after this vote’s done, as I think it’ll pass, there will still be comments and questions after the fact. And this is just the beginning of that process to get things going and to continue to engage the community and move Little Rock forward," Little said.

Little Rock residents lost their curbside glass recycling in April after contract negotiations with Waste Management led to a stop of glass pickup. However, those who still wanted to recycle glass could subscribe to Ace Glass’s pickup service for $10 a month or $100 a year. With the service turning mandatory if the resolution passes, Little estimates Ace Glass will collect around 20,000 tons of glass in the first two years. Ace Glass also currently provides glass drop off bins throughout the city, including stations in North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle and Jacksonville. These allow patrons to drop off their glass free of charge. Little says some of these bins could phase out if the resolution passes.  

"The ones that are in front of Edwards [Food Giant], and some of the liquor stores around town…the container stores including O’Looney’s and Cantrell and Colonial…some of those will probably phase out. We’re going to reach out to those business owners to see if they want to continue that service," Little said.

According to the resolution, the price per household for the glass pickup could increase from $3.39 a month in the second year. However, Little does not think that will happen.

"We don’t anticipate a large cost increase, except for CPI [Consumer Price Index]. If wages go up significantly, that would probably be the one place that we’d have an issue. But other than that, we feel very good about the long term," Little said. While Ace’s current focus is on the curbside initiative, Little says a later goal is to provide glass recycling services to apartment complexes. 

"Our intent long-term is to come up with a process for apartment communities to have on-site recycling containers. So [if] somebody has volume…and will maintain and keep the contamination out, we’d be glad to collect those all over town," Little said. 

The Board of Directors is also set to vote on the 2020 budget during tonight’s meeting. Last week, the board was short on the necessary quorum to vote on such measures.