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Company developing $90M glass recycling plant files for bankruptcy

Facing a litany of lawsuits and fines, Pace Glass has ceased operations at both its facilities in New Jersey and has begun selling equipment at court-ordered auctions to pay back creditors.

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November 23, 2021

Pace Glass Inc., Jersey City, New Jersey, spent two years developing a glass recycling facility in Andover, New Jersey, to sort and clean up postconsumer glass for use by bottle producers. Now, facing a litany of legal complaints, the company has closed altogether and has begun liquidating its assets this month.

In October, New Jersey's Acting Attorney General Andrew Buck announced that the state filed a complaint against the business, alleging it operates an illegal solid waste facility in Jersey City. The state claimed it did this by storing large piles of crushed glass on two different properties, one on Caven Point Avenue and one on Bishop Street.

According to the complaint, the Caven Point Avenue site contains a 40-foot-high stockpile of about 300,000 cubic yards of crushed glass, which is mixed with plastic, paper, food debris and other solid waste.

The complaint further alleged that Pace’s stockpiles of crushed glass mixed with other solid waste are causing contaminated stormwater runoff, which put the environment and public health at risk. The stockpiled glass is also a source of dust and odors the state said affected the quality of life for nearby residents. 

“The complaint seeks a court order directing Pace and other defendants to remove the piles of crushed glass, remediate contamination at the sites and to pay DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) penalties under the Solid Waste management Authority and Water Pollution Control Act,” Buck says in a press release issued last month.

The lawsuit lists Efstathios Valiotos, owner of Pace; Reliable Paper Recycling Inc., which shares the Caven Point Avenue site with Pace; Bishop-Johnston LLC, which owns the Bishop street site; and Caven Point Road Associates, the owner of the Caven Point Avenue property.

According to state records, this isn’t the first time Pace Glass has had issues with state authorities. In 2019, the company was served with multiple criminal charges related to more than 35 code violations at its Caven Point Avenue facility. The charges came after a mulitagency investigation determined that residual waste was being stored in large piles with poor storage, exposing hazardous contents to nearby areas.

Later that year, the company and the state agreed to a settlement for a $10,000 fine, according to court records.

However, records show the sites received violations as early as 2016 from the Hudson Regional Health Commission for operating a solid waste facility without a permit on Bishop Street and using an unapproved site on Caven Point Avenue, reports northjersey.com.

The 250,000-square-foot facility was expected to be the largest glass recycling facility in the world when construction began in 2018. The site was expected to open in 2019 and to handle most of the glass produced by material recovery facilities (MRFs) in the Northeast region. However, because contract negotiations fell apart, the opening was later pushed back to 2022.

An auction for the company’s equipment began earlier this month and is expected to be the first of two liquidation sales for the company, according to A.J. Willner Auctions.

City officials began discussing what will become of the 85-acre property last week. Right now, it’s unclear what will happen to it moving forward.