Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Cost of Recycling

The local papers say the county wants to hike trash-collection fees by $50, kicking the annual charge up to $225. Some of the money will be used to buy everyone big new recycling bins on wheels.

Here's how the Sun explained it:

Ulman has said he is trying to prepare for 2013, when the expiration of a long-term trash contract that ships most county waste by rail to private landfills in Northern Virginia is likely to sharply increase refuse disposal costs. Currently the county pays $33 a ton to dispose of trash, while market rates are $70 a ton, said county public works director James Irvin. By contrast, the county is paid s $55 a ton on average for recyclables.

So if the goal is to reduce trash disposal costs, is charging fees for recycling really the best incentive? (Also, what do you think the lifespan of those expensive bins will be, given the way they get manhandled by the crews? Anyone else have a battered and cracked blue bin?)

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