Carnegie feeling effects of worldwide recycling changes
Changes to the recycling industry worldwide are making their way to Carnegie — and they could come with a rate increase.
In January, China — a large importer of recycled material — banned 24 materials for import and limited contamination for any material imported into the country to less than 0.5 percent. That is having an effect on the industry globally.
“The industry is not trying to get out of recycling. We’re trying to fix a broken message and broken problem,” said John McGoran, manager of municipal services for Republic Services.
McGoran met with Carnegie council members on April 2 to share updates in the industry and how it will impact the municipality.
First, it’s about educating residents on what they should be tossing in their recycling cans.
Glass? That’s a no go for recycling.
Greasy pizza boxes? Also a no.
How about plastic bags? Once again no.
Plastics numbered three to seven? Put them in the garbage.
So, what should be recycled?
Cardboard, paper, metal cans, plastic bottles and jugs.
The rule of thumb when it comes to recycling is “Empty. Clean. Dry,” McGoran said. “Contamination is very serious with us today,” he said.
So, why the changes? Contaminated items mean the line has to be slowed down so they can be removed, or sometimes they ruin the whole batch of recycled products. Other materials no longer have value.
“We’re not asking you to get rid of the good stuff,” McGoran said. “It’s all about re-educating people.”
Republic plans to send a postcard to all Carnegie residents in the next 45 days with simple instructions on what should be tossed in a recycling bin.
Carnegie is in its third year of a five-year contract with Republic Services for trash and recycling collection. Years four and five are option years.
Collection, including trash, recycling and billing, is currently $16.92 per unit per month.
While the contract has a 68-cent increase built in for the first option year, Republic is asking for an additional 24-cent increase to the rate for “unprecedented circumstances in the recycling environment.” This would equal a 92-cent per unit per month increase beginning July 1.
“We believe this is unforeseen circumstances,” McGoran said.
Solicitor Nate Boring said the additional increase Republic Services is seeking likely could be handled “within the acceptable limits of a change order” to the contract.
Council members would have to approve the 24-cent additional increase. Some council members on April 2 questioned why the changes were occurring mid-contract.
“So, essentially you’re doing less,” said councilwoman Regina Popichak. “Theoretically, this should cost you less,” she later said.
Some leaders said they worried the changes would discourage people from recycling.
That’s not what the goal is, McGoran said.
“We’re asking people to partner up here as we go through this whole process,” he said.