Villages, towns scramble as household recycling prices increase

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Villages and towns are scrambling to figure out what to do with household recycling as the price to dispose increases.

“Recycling is in crisis right now because the markets have really dried up,” says Will Flower, general manager of Winter Bros. Waste System.

He says that China used to buy most of the world's recycled trash, but due to tariffs, trade wars and contaminated recycled waste, China has had enough.

“When China stopped accepting material, it created an oversupply of material, which drove the prices down, which resulted in a lot of municipalities paying a lot more to manage their solid waste,” says Flower.

The Village of Northport is an example of a Long Island municipality that up until last year made money on recycled waste, but now must pay to have it hauled away.

“It’s a financial liability and it is going to trickle down to the residents,” says Northport Village Trustee Ian Milligan.

Higher prices to haul trash and recycling facilities busting at the seams are the result.

Environmentalists and trash haulers say Long Island residents need to clean up their act.

“We can't sit back and wait for the government to solve this problem. We must have the public recycle and recycle right,” says Adrienne Esposito, of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. Esposito says the days of relying on China are over and that residents need to take responsibility for their own waste.

Flower says that the only thing that can be recycled are things like cardboard, newspaper and plastic containers.  He says they all have to be washed and dried and placed in a bin.

Municipalities and trash recycling companies want glass removed from the recycling stream because they say it causes a tremendous amount of contamination. They want to see glass bottles brought to redemption centers.


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