TRINITY, N.C. — Starting in just a couple of weeks, the City of Trinity will stop providing curbside recycling services.
The change is sparking a lot of concern in the community.
Like many people in the city, Renee Honeycutt has a green bin that she fills up and puts out on the curb to get picked up for recycling.
“We’re running out of room for the dumps. Then you’ve got how many tons of recyclables that could be used elsewhere,” Honeycutt said.
When Honeycutt heard the city was going to take away recycling services and have people drop off their recyclables at a Randolph County convenience site on Kennedy Road, she had some concerns.
“This area has a lot of older people. They’re not going to be able to load their vehicles up. Then I’m worried everything will end up in the dump,” Honeycutt said. “I thought our tax dollars were helping pay for recycling.”
They are, but it doesn’t begin to cover the extensive costs.
“It’s gotten unsustainable for the city. We’re a small town,” Mayor Pro-Tem Don Payne said.
He says it’s hard to continue to recycle when recycling costs keep going up, and if the city maintains such a low tax rate.
For 2018-2019, the city only collected about $16,800 from its citizens. But it cost Trinity almost $35,000 to recycle.
The price-per-ton jumped more than $11 for the upcoming year.
The projected cost to recycle for 2020 is just over $47,000.
“We have an option of raising fees,” Payne said. “We’re a country town, and we have lots of old people living on fixed incomes. To raise the taxes would be hurting them.”
City officials tell FOX8 this was not an easy decision and was discussed in public hearings extensively.
Another factor that went into ceasing service was the contamination of the community’s recycling.
Payne says almost 20% of what is in people’s recycling bins is not recyclable. The city then gets charged extra.
“I did not realize it costs that much to recycle. That is a lot of money,” Honeycutt said.
She says she wouldn’t mind paying a little extra per month in order to keep the recycling services.
City officials say that extra cost could be around $5 a month per resident.
The last day for curbside recycling in Trinity will be Jan. 27.
Payne says the city is not opposed to raising fees in order to continue recycling services, and they are open to any suggestions.
The next public hearing for the city is Jan. 14.