Amherst has become the first town in Western New York to change its recycling regulations due to a worldwide glut of reusable and recyclable materials.

Colored glass containers, such as beer and liquor bottles are no longer suitable for recycling, so Highway Superintendent Patrick Lucey is asking residents to put them in their garbage totes, instead.

“The clear glass, if it is clean, does have some value, we are told. But the brown or the green glass, at this point, doesn’t have much of a value.”

Another change, Lucey said residents should only recycle #1 or #2 plastic containers. Modern Disposal, the town’s recycling contractor, sorts out the colored glass and non-recycleable plastic, then sends the unuseable waste to the landfill.

The reason for the change in regulations is that China, which buys most of the world’s reuseable waste, is now rejecting much of the material shipped there, causing a worldwide recycling glut.
Amherst’s highway superintendent said it has been a diffcult decision rolling back the town’s recycling effort, especially with so much emphasis now on protecting the environment.

“And also be cognizant of our taxpayer dollar, so we are not throwing money away just to recycle something that is going to get landfilled.”

Lucey added, the town is working on a plan to collect the colored glass containers separately, and find a processing facility that will recycle the glass instead of dumping it.