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 September 21, 2020

As City Budgets Shrink, It’s Time to Rethink Recycling Programs written by Howard Husock and John Tierney

The city of Rye, NY, with just 15,000 residents, spends some $500,000 annually to collect recyclables. In Boston, the city’s recycling contract calls for it to pay between $125 to $160 per ton to dispose of recyclables, compared with just $80 per ton for general trash. Dallas, the city with the rosiest recycling finances of the municipalities analyzed in the Manhattan Institute study, spends $14 million annually on separate collection—a cost which homeowners absorb—thanks to a long-term fixed-price contract and a landfill owned by the city itself. “The current economics of it, absolutely, it would make more sense to landfill,” says Tim Oliver, the head of the city’s Department of Sanitation Services. “I think that’s the case across the country—or the world for that matter—in most cases.”