Clean and sort your recycling properly.
Otherwise, our bills are going to go up.
Some of you get this.
Others hate being told what to do, or simply get angry at the name Al Gore, judging by a few letters we get.
Forget about Al Gore. Instead think about George Washington, the guy that lives in your wallet. There’ll be fewer of those if we don’t clean up our recycling.
Why are we telling you to now wash out your bottle of ranch dressing before throwing it away into a recycle bin?
Simply, it’s because of China, Waste Connections and the specter of massive local cost increases.
In 2018, China put policies in place drastically limiting the recyclables it imports (plastics, paper, etc.,) and requiring them to be more pure, i.e. have less contaminants in it.
As China was a chief importer of American recyclables and had been for decades, the stricter regulations resulted in a plastic glut in the United States, driving down recycling prices.
Remember those 200 bales of plastic that went up in smoke in North Newton under what the fire department deemed suspicious circumstances? Those plastics were waiting to be sold when the recyclable prices improved.
Prices have not improved since then. So, many for-profit trash haulers are looking for ways to continue to profit.
While last year, the county managed to make it’s contractor, Waste Connections, continue to provide recycling services, now the company is looking to either increase prices or drop services, citing the amount of contamination in county recycling.
While our knee jerk reaction in the office was to blame Waste Connections for simply wanting to get out of contracts or raise prices, judging from the pictures the city of Newton has provided after going through it’s recycling, Waste Connections has a point – we’re throwing a bunch of stupid stuff into our recycling bins.
If things don’t change, Waste Connections is threatening to increase recycling prices by 400 percent, something that would make offering recycling services fiscally implausible for the city of Newton.
With all that background, now dust the cobwebs out of your eyes. Here’s where the lack of recycling will affect your pocketbook, even if you plan on burning plastic in a trash barrel and have a carcinogenic weenie roast.
Plastics currently cost the city $18 a ton to recycle. Trash costs the city $33 a ton to dispose of at the dump.
Each ton that goes into recycling bins, instead of trash cans, saves $15. Recycling costs the city 56 percent of what trash costs per ton.
One third of refuse produced in Newton is recycled. Two thirds becomes trash.
Doing some quick math, we get a napkin math increase of 19 percent in refuse costs should recycling go the way of the dinosaur.
You’d better believe that increase would be showing up on your utility bill.
This isn’t a Newton issue. This is an issue hitting towns across our region. El Dorado Quit recycling. Other cities are considering the move.
If Newton follows, we’re going to pay.
Still, there is a viable solution to the pending utility rate problem, more viable than our normal, complain online response.
Just recycle correctly.
It’s possible. North Newton, employing a recycler that’d give Chairman Mao a run for his money on customer service and imposing ideological purity, has managed to reach Waste Connections’ new standards.
Instead of having Newton residents also having to live under the kind of regime that inspects and regularly rejects their containers after finding a stray paper towel, Newton residents could simply recycle properly.
So, put clean plastic, clean glass, clean paper and clean cardboard in the recycle bin. Rinse the beans out of your bean cans and the mayonnaise out of your jars. It’s as simple as that.
And don’t “wishcycle,” as city public information officer Erin McDaniel said. If in doubt, throw it out.
We know some of you will read this editorial and throw a nacho cheese dip covered jar into the recycling just to be a rebel. Get it out of your system.
We hate people telling us what to do, also. But, listen to us. Your pocketbook and fellow citizens will thank you in the long run.