We need to raise the yellow caution flag on Boise’s new trash program that includes “no-sort recycling.”
Austin, Texas, often held up as a “Big Brother” for things Boise politicos favor, adopted the no sort recycle scheme last fall and suddenly finds itself nearly $1 million in the hole due to transportation costs brought about because there is no sorting facility nearby–just like Boise. See AUSTIN WOES.
The GUARDIAN thinks it entirely possible for Boise’s trash and recycle contractors to be overwhelmed by the success of the new program. As we understand it, in the near future residents will get two big trash cans–one for garbage and one for recyclables. Based on the trash coming out of the GUARDIAN headquarters (a straight line for you pundits), the majority of the volume qualifies for recycling.
That can be good news and bad. Good that we don’t use up space in the landfill so fast, but quite possibly more than Western recycling can handle. Also bound to cost more than anticipated because prices are so low for the paper, plastic, aluminum material.
Vince Trimboli, Boise’s official trash talking voice told the GUARDIAN, “The potential cost of recycling depends on where the market for recycle materials goes. Recycling commodity prices from December through March were very low and would be problematic if they continued long-term. This is not the expectation.” Avimor and the real estate folks didn’t expect prices to fall either!
We also asked if there is a facility to handle no-sort recycle in the area. Answer: “Our no-sort program will partner with Western Recycling’s Boise facility for packaging and shipping of the materials to recycling facilities that offer the most for the product.” Packing and shipping costs seem to be the sticky part of the business, according to the report from Austin. Let’s hope we don’t burn a ton of diesel to save a ton of plastic or aluminum.
Nothing wrong with recycling, saving the planet, etc. But like using corn to produce ethanol, it may not be the best scientific decision. It would sure be nice to have a Plan B, but fear Plan B could involve higher rates to build someone a sorting facility or a fleet of trucks.
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