Major Changes Proposed for Recycling

fdr writes: No more recycling of glass or plastic in Albemarle County? A $1 charge for every trip to the McIntire Road Recycling Center? If the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s proposed FY 2003 changes are approved, it could all come true very soon. Download this press release from RSWA for more information. A public hearing on the proposal will take place at the RSWA’s next board meeting on April 22. You can also e-mail comments to the Board in advance of the meeting at

14 thoughts on “Major Changes Proposed for Recycling”

  1. In related stories, the Salvation Army has announced that it will begin charging $1 for every bag of donations left at its center, VDOT has announced that it will begin charging “Adopt-a-Highway” cleanup crews $5 for every bag of waste they collect for disposal, and the American Red Cross has announced that although it will not institute charges for volunteers wishing to donate blood, they will be required to supply their own hypodermic needles.

  2. This is totally ludicrous. Recycling and other environmental concerns are WAY behind in this part of the country, and it’s especially sad to see this in a university town. I’m well within city limits and get no recycling service at all, and now they want me to pay for making the trip to do it myself? A move like this could shut down recycling altogether. Pulling this west of the rockies would resurrect witchburning.

  3. The environmental effects of recycling are debatable. On the one hand, recycling, if done on a large enough scale, reduces solid waste and as a result reduces the amount of junk being put into landfills. For some products–paper and aluminum come to mind–recycling offers tangible benefits in terms of energy savings versus raw product and preservation of natural environs (trees and landscapes). Others, such as plastics, glass, and other man-made materials, don’t show such direct benefits, and may in fact actually consume more energy to recycle into new product than products made just from non-recycled materials.

    That’s not really at issue here, though. The real issue is simple economics. The products which would no longer be recyclable are those products for which the market really isn’t strong. Localities wind up eating the costs of the recycling programs, whereas ideally the programs would pay for themselves when the locality sells off the collected waste.

    Recycling remains largely a feel-good program–the real economic and enviromental impact is far behind the actual benefits. This proposal strikes me as an ideal compromise: the county still offers at least some sort of recycling program so that those who choose to do so can still participate, and by charging a (nominal–c’mon, folks, it’s a buck) fee they can cover at least a portion of the costs which are incurred by such a program.

  4. Those of us in the city that do get recycling service have noticed that they won’t pick up plastic in town. If they start charging money to recycle they will see all my recyclables in the garbage.

  5. Since curb-side recycling started in C’ville, they have never taken plastics. In my neighborhood, off Meade Avenue, if you put plastics in the container they leave it there for you to put in your trashcan for next week. They also do not take cardboard (such as cereal boxes).

    OTOH, I have had trouble with trash services in that they drive down my street and take SOME people’s recycling bins, etc. (I have called and they have had to come back — still…)

    I wonder if the city will eliminate its bulk pickup. (And don’t get me started on that! The actual people who pick up bulk are wonderful but one of the supervisors is a freak with nothing to do.)

  6. A fair argument. If they can’t do anything with these recyclables, i can’t argue with that, they shouldn’t be taking them.

    but what with the price? A charging policy like this would be a local embarrassment at least, wouldn’t it? In the volumes that most people take to the recycling center, it would cost you far less to throw it away. I’d feel really stupid paying them to maintain a small part of the system that’s dragging the whole thing down. If they can’t economically afford to keep the entire recycling system up, they ought to drop the weak link altogether (especially if it’s the least necessary part) instead of doing something that makes our town look silly.

    I also maintain that something like this could bring all of recycling to its knees here, and I don’t think that’s what they want.

  7. One day, it will require more energey to pump oil out of the ground than the oil contains. This makes your car into what engineers like to call “a paperweight”. When this happens, plastic recycling will be attractive. Until this happens, I am throwing mine out with everything else I dont want in my house anymore. Yes, I’m often pelted with hacky sacks and bongs, but I have learned to deal with it.

    To those who get enjoyment out of recycling, you should be happy to spend a buck. Most people think their lives will be better if they just go out and buy more stuff. This way it feels even better! Because you have to pay for it!

  8. I don’t believe the recycling center takes aluminum. This is clearly a money making product.

    Perhaps if they would take aluminum it would ‘bankroll’ the less economic products (plastic, paper, etc).

  9. > The real issue is simple economics

    Yes, the real issue is our simple economics. They are destroying the planet. They don’t account the cost to our environment and to future generations. The point of recycling is not to save money, it is to preserve natural resources.

  10. Actually, city recycling did originally take plastic bottles and then stopped. The city said there was no market for them. It has been years since the city recycling took plastics, which is a real shame. This is the backward side of a world class city.

  11. I’m confused by your comment. The recycling center does indeed take aluminum, in the form of cans, clean aluminum foil, aluminum bottle caps, and clean foil pans. These items are also collected curbside in the city. Are you referring to some other type of aluminum product that the center doesn’t accept?

  12. Please – the only people who truly think this is a “world class city” are those who have never been to one that is.

  13. You’re being funny about the Salvation Army but in last Saturday’s Washington Post, the Goodwill store in DC was closing. Their reason? All they received was junk items and nothing usable.

    Ask someone who has worked at any of the rummage/yard sales in town — you’d be amazed at how much of stuff is pure unusable junk that’s donated. (I worked once and I remember a pair of curtains with moths flying out of it. Yuck. There must have been about 25 pounds of moth eaten curtains which had to be thrown out. Thanks for the donation….)

  14. You don’t understand, economics is ALL ABOUT natural resources. If you want to turn used plastic into new plastic, you must expend energy, that energy is probably going to come in the form of burning coal or oil. If you use up more energy recycling the plastic than the plastic actually contains, you are wasting natural resources for some feel-good hippie-dippy program.

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