$5.46. That’s about how much the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) would charge your household if you were to bring all the recyclables you generate in an entire year to our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Williston, once the July 1 fee increase goes into effect. The MRF is where we process recyclables that trash haulers bring in from residents and businesses that subscribe to curbside trash and recycling pickup services.
On July 1, the fee at the MRF is increasing from $6 per ton to $21 per ton. What does that mean for your household? Here’s how to figure it out: The average household in Chittenden County generates a little over a quarter of a ton of recyclables per year — 0.26 tons, to be precise. Multiply the $21 per ton fee by the number of tons you generate ($21 x 0.26) and you get $5.46 per year. That works out to about 46 cents per month for the average household.
It costs upwards of $100 per ton to dispose of trash in the landfill in Coventry, where trash from Chittenden County is buried. CSWD does not own or operate this landfill. CSWD is not adding or increasing any other fees at this time.
Recycling is not free. It costs CSWD to build, maintain, and operate the recycling facility. It costs haulers to run fleets of trucks to collect your recycling. But, unlike trash, recyclables help pay for their own processing.
Recyclables are sold to brokers who find buyers in the global commodities market for the various plastics, papers, and metals that you put in your recycling bin or cart. The commodities market can swing wildly throughout the year. When we have been able to command high prices for our material, we can cover our expenses, sock a bit away for leaner years, and even pay haulers for bringing in material. When the market is lower, as it is now, we have to adjust our fees to make sure we cover our costs to keep the recycling process going.
We strive to keep our fees as low as possible to encourage recycling. The benefits to the community and the world at large have been well established: More than 30 people are employed at the MRF, fewer tractor-trailer trucks rumble through neighboring towns on a 150-mile round-trip journey to the landfill, and fewer reusable resources wasted forever in the landfill.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Chittenden Solid Waste District