This is where I normally post money saving tips, but sometimes it’s a losing battle. This month our city selected trash collection company notified us that fees would be increasing. I should be calling them our environmental services provider, as they like to be called these days. This is what the notice said: Effective July 1, 2023, the rates for trash and recycling service will increase, this is due to unprecedented landfill increases, labor increases and recycling market challenges. I have the smallest container available, which is 35 gallons. A container this size will only hold two 13-gallon trash bags. I feel inferior sometimes because all of my neighbors use the 65-gallon containers. Basically, I can’t reduce my collection fee because I already use the smallest container.
They bill quarterly for trash collection, so during a 3-month period, they pick up 12 times. This means that it will now cost me $4.80 every time they empty my container. That may not sound like much, but it is still a 17.5% increase. This includes recycling pickup. Although they do a weekly recycling pickup, I only generate enough recyclables to put the container out once a month. This is because they gave everyone a 65-gallon container for recycling waste. It would have made more sense to change recycling pick-ups to bi-weekly, if they wanted to reduce costs. I discovered that global factors are raising the cost of recycling.
I was not sure what they mean by “recycling market challenges”. I did some research and low market demand for recycled materials and labor-intensive sorting processes are two factors. Historically, the US has exported a large portion of its waste to China for recycling. However, in January 2018, China implemented a waste import ban, named Operation National Sword, which disallowed 24 types of scrap materials and tightened restrictions on what kind of waste was able to be exported to the country. National Sword policy meant that recyclables would not be able to exceed a contamination rate of over 0.5%. This meant that the US had to look for a new recycling solution, as most US states’ recyclables reached a contamination rate of 25% or higher. Even though less trash is going into landfills, the challenges of handling recyclable materials is an ongoing concern. The number of items you can’t dispose of in the trash is also growing. I have old electronics and computer parts that will someday need to be disposed of. But anything you can’t put in the trash now costs too much money to get rid of.