CEDAR CITY — Cedar City will no longer provide recycling bins at selected locations throughout the city, as the city’s recycling program is being discontinued effective Jan. 1.
Cedar City Public Works Director Ryan Marshall said skyrocketing costs were the reason for the change.
“It initially started out costing the city $11,100 per year in 2011,” Marshall told Cedar City News this week, noting that the program started in mid-2010, making 2011 its first full year of operation. “That cost then increased to $19,200 in 2013, then again to $36,000 in 2017, and finally again in 2019 to $63,600. We were also informed that there would be a significant increase again in 2020.”
For the past several years, Cedar City had contracted with Washington County Solid Waste District in St. George to collect recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, plastics, metal and glass from large containers called “binnies” set up in six locations throughout Cedar City.
The waste district, in turn, had contracted with Rocky Mountain Recycling to handle, process and transport the materials. However, earlier this year, Rocky Mountain Recycling voided its contract with the district, citing increasingly worsening economic conditions. A few months later, Washington County Solid Waste District signed a contract with a different provider, Republic Services, which has a sorting facility in Las Vegas.
However, the new provider’s per-ton fees are substantially higher than those of the previous contractor, Marshall noted.
Marshall said that when Cedar City first began participating in the recycling program, “it was a reasonable cost compared to disposing of it in the landfills.”
“At the time, there was an overseas market for this recycled material,” Marshall said. “The cost now is quite a bit more expensive than traditional waste disposal and this is mainly due to the overseas markets for recycled materials has all but dried up.”
After discussing the current and projected future costs of recycling at its Nov. 13 meeting, the Cedar City Council voted to discontinue the program effective the end of 2019.
“This was a hard decision for the City Council to make,” Marshall said, adding that the council members expressed a desire to reconsider recycling in the future if the market become more viable or if other less expensive options present themselves.
“Let’s not close the door on this,” Councilman Scott Phillips said during the meeting. “If the market comes back, let’s revisit it.”
One week after the council’s Nov. 13 meeting, Cedar City officials notified Washington County Solid Waste District by mail of their intention to quit the program, and public notices were placed on the binnies notifying users of the impending changes. The subject was also mentioned by Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards in the December issue of her monthly newsletter.
Cedar City area residents wishing to continue to recycle their trash still have a few options, including paying Orem-based Recyclops $10 per month to have certain recyclable materials picked up curbside on a biweekly basis (weekly service is $15 per month). Those interested may contact Recyclops by phone at 801-709-1509 or visit the company’s website for more information. Another local third-party option that specializes in recyclable metals is Robinson Recycling, 435-590-6990.
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