Recycling crisis causing rate increases

Ashland, Ore. — If you pay for recycling, your bill could be going up.

China has made it clear the country will no longer be taking certain recyclable materials at the start of 2018.

That means Southern Oregon cities have to decide whether to landfill those materials or increase rates to find other markets.

Recology Ashland services the cities of Talent and Ashland.

After both city councils recently voted to increase recycling rates, Recology Ashland will be doing everything possible to make sure everything is properly recycled.

“It makes you feel good to recycle and it gives a lot of people a sense of purpose,” Talent resident Joyce Feigner said.

Joyce Feigner has lived in talent for 35 years.

With a passion for recycling, she wants to make sure nothing recyclable goes into the landfill, but she’s also concerned about recycling rates increasing in January for the cities of Talent and Ashland.

“When rates go up, then people are less inclined to do the right thing,” Feigner said.

Due to an import ban from China starting in 2018, Recology Ashland is committing itself to finding other markets which comes at a higher cost.

“Now we are having to pay to get things recycled, and so it just covers the cost of what we have to pay,” Zero Waste Specialist Jamie Rosenthal said.

According to Waste Zero Specialist Jamie Rosenthal, Recology Ashland has acquired a new facility in Eureka, California.

“The facility would be able to get our material to a standard that would be accepted at other markets so that we could ensure that it gets recycled,” Rosenthal said.

While the price hike isn’t ideal, Rosenthal says it was made clear at the city council meetings that most would prefer to pay more in order to continue recycling.

Price increase or not, Feigner says recycling will always be a top priority for her.

“I think if we all made a concerted effort, we could help to keep our earth as beautiful as it should be,” Feigner said.

After calculating how many tons were recycled for the month of November, Recology Ashland will have a better idea of how much everyone’s rate will increase.

However, it’s predicted that increase will be around two dollars a month for both talent and Ashland.

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