Letter: Towns will be impacted by changes in the recycling industry

To the editor,

I count myself among those who try to recycle everything possible.

How can that possibly be bad? Here’s how.

First, the recycling industry is changing fast, due to the economic laws of supply and demand. China, once the largest purchaser of recycled material waste, unilaterally began to refuse “contaminated” recycled material last year. “Contaminated” is defined as having anything not pre-approved for recycling.

China’s refusal to accept shiploads of recycling has turned the entire U.S. recycling industry on its head. With virtually no place to sell recycling, the major recycling companies have gone from paying for tonnage of recycled material to charging for tonnage of recycled material.

What does that mean for all of us?

In Beacon Falls for example, there is currently a contract for payment on each ton of recycling material brought to the contracted transfer station. For the moment, that is a positive revenue stream for the town. The town will soon instead be paying per ton to haul away the same recycled material. That revenue stream will become a significant cost, and that cost borne by the taxpayers. That is a certainty, and there is no other current solution.

Every city and town in Connecticut is facing the same reversal of revenue to significant cost.

What can be done to mitigate that imminent cost, as best we can?

We all can do a better job sorting recycling so that it is not “contaminated” and thereby reduce the pending per ton cost of recycling.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has a user friendly website (www.recyclect.com) that identifies what is currently recyclable and what is not.

The site is quite informative, and for myself, I will try to do a better job sorting our recycling.

The new norm will be sorting better equals a little less taxes.

James E. Hagan Jr.

Beacon Falls