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Recycling Earns Money For Your County

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Wheeled Recycling BinsIn Howard County, Maryland, the county has decided to give out over 71,000 recycling bins to the residents. The size of your home will dictate the size of the bin you’ll be receiving. Single family homes will receive a 65-gallon wheeled cart, townhomes with a garage will get a 35 gallon bin, and townhomes without a garage (like mine) will receive an 18 gallon bin.

Giving out these recycling bins has been proven, in earlier testing, to increase recycling when coupled with “one binning,” that’s my term for when you can mix all types of recycling in one bin. The official term appears to be “single-stream recycling” but “one binning” sounds so much better, don’t you think?

Anyway, here’s the stat that blows my mind… it costs our county $33 per ton to dispose of trash, a negotiated fee that is secured under contract until 2013. Our County Executive estimates that the price could double or triple when our county renegotiates, a fact that makes this next stat even more poignant. Our county receives $54 per ton of recycling. That’s right, the county earns money on recycling.

That’s an $87 swing per ton for something that we should be doing because it’s better for the environment.

For every ton of recycling Howard County recycles, that’s more money in the county coffers which, hopefully, means taxes will stand pat or perhaps go down. At a time when property values are going down and property tax revenues are dwindling, it’s a good idea to help your county out so they don’t help themselves to higher taxes. :)

(Photo: mukluk)

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11 Responses to “Recycling Earns Money For Your County”

  1. philip says:

    “under contract until 21013″ Holy cow that is a long contract!

    If they are making this much money off of it, then why do more counties not push recycling much much more than they do now? This seems like an obvious choice for them.

    Knowing this I will try to take care and recycle a bit more of my stuff. I do plastics and cans but usually just toss the junk mail and newspapers that I get into the trash.

  2. jim says:

    Hahaha, whoops! 2013. :)

    I don’t know why they aren’t more aggressive in other areas, I think they just don’t care or they don’t know.

  3. Jon says:

    I wish Baltimore County would hook me up with some binnage. :)

  4. Amanda says:

    I wish Chicago had a program like this. Our recycling program has been virtually non-existent since the failure of our “blue bag” system. It’s been years since we could easily recycle, and it’s extremely frustrating!

  5. Shadox says:

    For sure, recycle. But never assume that taxes will go down. Government always wants more taxes – that’s what they do – and they’ll find a way to spend your money. Be sure of that.

  6. jim says:

    I don’t assume they’ll go down, I’m not that naive. :)

    But that cynicism isn’t healthy either, if you want to effect change you have to do it yourself. You can’t just complain about and expect things to change.

  7. DoubleCross says:

    Recycling programs have been implemented in my area (So. Cal.) only to discover the problems that come with it. Home owners put out their bins on trash day, and around come the socioeconomic underclass to steal it and cash in for themselves.

    Many of these people are illegal immigrants. Worse still, they get into fights over “territory” and streets, scaring the crap out of suburbanites as they argue over ownership.

    In the end, it’s better to create local drop off places for people to bring their recycling. But of course, everyone is far too lazy for that…

  8. In a word, wow! From whom does your county receive the $54 per ton? Do you, as a participant, receive any sort of incentive, other than the free bins, to take part in the program? Does your county encourage other sorts of waste reduction like composting? I’m impressed!

  9. Terry says:

    Glass should be segregated by the consumer from other recyclable materials.

  10. Wait. How does this save money for the county? We’ve had these same blue barrels for years and no one has ever claimed it was a cost-saving measure. Instead of trash being carted to the dump, it has to be taken to a plant equipped with assembly lines, where an army of minimum-wage employees sorts through through it, organizes it, throws out the inevitable garbage people drop into the barrels, and ships the recyclables off to various other plants.

    The recycle collector is in business to make a profit, not to help the taxpayers save money.

    And we don’t: my assessed valuation dropped $15,000 this year, and the bill I just got showed a $600 increase in taxes — effectively taxing me out of my home, since I no longer can afford to pay the county property taxes on this paid-off house and soon will have to sell.

    Hilariously, too, when this program first started the Arizona Republic still had investigative reporters. The recycling company put on some big P.R. hoopla by having a grade school assiduously collect recyclable trash and put it in big bins to be picked up by the recycler. On the day of the Great Recycling Pickup, a couple of reporters waited through the fanfare and then quietly followed the recycling truck…which drove directly to the city landfill, where all the kiddies’ proudly collected recyclables were unceremoniously dumped on the heap of garbage.

    Uh huh.

  11. Fred says:

    Wow! I had NO IDEA that the savings was that significant! I also wish Balto. Co. would provide these bins as well. We recycle everything we can, and have a 3-bin system (paper, plastic, glass+cans).


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