The City of Greensboro gets paid to have your recycling processed; soon, it could have to pay $1.5 million

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The City of Greensboro will soon go from being paid to have residents’ recycling processed to paying to have it processed.

Currently, the city receives $15 per ton of recycling. Their figures show an average of 17,000 tons recycled annually. Therefore, their current revenues equate to about $255,000.

Their current expenses for recycling collection are about $2,500,000, which boils down to about $147 per ton. With the $255,000 profit, their net costs end up at $2,245,000 per year.

City officials say within the next year or two, they will have to pay anywhere from $30 to $90 per ton to process the recycling, due to changes in recycling commodity pricing. On the low end, that means a cost of $510,000, and on the high end, could equal $1,530,000.

Add in the money they’re currently taking in at $15 per ton, and that could be a loss as large as $1,785,000.

“We shouldn’t have to pay for doing our job by recycling and then have the city have to pay them for disposing of it,” Greensboro resident Margie Hudson said.

With the additional cost factored into the current expenses -- and no corresponding revenues -- it brings the projected net cost for the residential recycling program anywhere from $3,010,000 to $4,030,000, the city says.

Officials say they are already exploring several strategies for how to mitigate those additional costs. But, when the topic was raised to some city residents, their minds immediately went to one place: taxes.

“No, we don’t need to raise our taxes any, at all, they’re already high,” Hudson said.

City leaders will discuss the item again at their upcoming work session, on Feb. 5.

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