TOPEKA (KSNT) – Free recycling may not be around for much longer in Shawnee County.
Recycling has been trending down recently, with the market value of recyclable items including paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum and tin tanking over the past year.
Waste Management has proposed a new contract to Shawnee County, and after officials projected the revenue, it shows that the county will lose over $74,000 a month on average, and nearly $1,000,000 a year. The biggest concern officials have is nearly half of what goes into the recycling bin ends up in a landfill instead of being recycled.
“Sixteen percent is glass, we’re still getting glass in the stream, and 14% residue, so right there is 30% that is going out the backdoor, to the landfill,” said Shawnee County Solid Waste Director Bill Sutton.
Waste Management said the most important part in solving the problem is educating the customers on how to recycle properly.
“When education gets more aggressive, the residue or contamination rates go down,” said Tom Vulovic from Waste Management. “Thirty-seven percent is about the highest I have in the five state region that I cover, so there’s some work that needs to be done from an educational standpoint.”
Some of the options laid out for the commissioners to solve the problem were to sign the contract with an estimated $3-$10 increase in customer rates, make recycling a subscription plan, only charge those who want to recycle, or eliminate recycling in Shawnee County altogether. Whatever decision is made by the end of the year, free recycling seems to have come to an end.