This month, residents in unincorporated areas of Cabarrus County received notification of a fee increase for recycling services. Republic Services recently announced the increase of $9 per quarter, which took effect with the October billing cycle. The change increases rates from approximately $3.24 to $6.24 per month.
Changes in the recycling industry
A ban on the import of mixed paper and plastic by China took effect in 2018. The ban led to an abundance of recyclable materials in the U.S., which caused the market value of these items to drop. As the demand for materials decreased, recyclers began tightening restrictions on contamination—the amount of trash and non-recyclables placed in recycling carts. They also began charging more to process the increased contamination in carts.
Media articles on the recycling crisis
Republic Services administers solid waste and recycling services to residents in unincorporated areas of Cabarrus County and delivers the recycled materials to the Mecklenburg County Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for processing. The MRF separates the recyclables into their various commodity types, such as cardboard, ferrous metal and aluminum. The Mecklenburg County MRF is the only recycling facility in the Cabarrus region.
Due to changes in the recycling industry, the cost to process recycled materials at the Mecklenburg County MRF recently increased to $95 per ton—an industry standard. The County recently reviewed and renewed the agreement to continue delivery to the Mecklenburg County MRF through June 2020. This is the first Republic Services billing cycle to include the increase.
Ways customers can help manage costs
In September, Cabarrus County and the Cities of Concord and Kannapolis joined a statewide anti-contamination campaign running September through mid-November. The campaign encourages residents to practice simple steps to be ‘cart smart’ about recycling.
To help make recycling more efficient, remember these simple tips:
- Place empty cans, bottles, paper and cardboard in the recycling bin. Keep everything else out.
- Do not bag your recyclable items.
- Do not put plastic bags, cords, hoses and other string-like items in the recycling bin as they can tangle around rotating equipment.
- Avoid putting other things that could be hazardous to workers who sort recycling – like batteries, needles, sharp objects and food residue – into the recycling bin.
- Do not put Styrofoam cups and containers in the recycling bin.
- When in doubt, throw it out!
Download CARTology to #RecycleRight
Residents are encouraged to download the CARTology app, which provides information on your solid waste and recycling schedule, including a free reminder system. Take the guesswork out of recycling and learn how to properly dispose of items with CARTology’s Waste Wizard tool.
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