I had just arrived at my parents’ house on Wednesday, and my mother insisted that their curbside recycling bin would take any form of plastic. I was sceptical because in all my research, I hadn’t heard of such a generous recycling program anywhere. So, I looked it up to verify and sure enough, she was right.
Their city website confirmed that Plastics #1 – #7 were accepted in their curb-side recycling bins as part of their mandatory recycling program.
“Wow! I’m really surprised that they can take anything when no other place in Australia or America seems to be able to do this,” I told my father.
“Yeah, but they’re about to change it in terms of what we can recycle,” he said but wasn’t sure what the changes were.
The Future of Recycling
I did a little bit of research to find that the city will no longer require mandatory recycling starting in September 2019. Instead it will only provide it as an optional curb-side pick up for $10/week. Furthermore, while they’ve been taking any form of plastic up until now, they’ll only accept plastics that are clear or white in the future.
Yes, they will now have to pay to recycle far fewer materials!
With my parents on pensions, the extra $520 a year is a pretty big burden especially when the city will no longer accept other materials like paper or glass either. I suspect that they and many others will quit recycling all together because it’s too hard and expensive.
Below shows the reduced list of recyclable materials for them.
On this cross-country trip across the US to visit family members, I’ve found that the smaller towns and cities are struggling the most since China and other countries quit accepting our rubbish as imports. Today, it’s costing the recyclers money to get rid of the materials where they use to sell it for a profit just last year.
This is exactly the problem I feared when I started The Refoundry. Now, I feel the sense of urgency to move forward faster to expand the business into the US.
Question for you: Would you pay to recycle if your city quit offering it for free?
I’m afraid that this may be the way of the future for many places.