KUNC.org looked at how the high costs of recycling—and low commodity prices—have impacted communities in Colorado.
Cities have scrambled to adjust operations and contracts with haulers in order to keep recycling services intact. It’s a story we’ve heard repeatedly around the country as communities struggle to find ways to fund recycling programs and processers try to avoid losing money on the process.
Some cities have looked at a combination of city-plus-private options for cost-saving solutions. In Fort Collins, recycling haulers are part of the private sector. Fort Collins unanimously passed the Community Recycling Ordinance in 2016, which includes updates to trash and recycling service for single family homes. Private trash haulers will have the option to charge a "service surcharge" on residential bills starting in April 2017.
The ordinance was designed to coincide with an initiative to offset the environmental impact of the city.
“Over 50 percent of the material currently being land-filled from Fort Collins could be composted,” said Caroline Mitchell, the city’s Senior Environmental Planner. “That remains a really significant opportunity both for greenhouse gas reduction and waste reduction. And that is a primary focus for the city right now.”