HomeThe CSWD BlogAnnouncementsCSWD to raise tip fee at recycling facility

CSWD to raise tip fee at recycling facility

The facts

On September 4, 2018, CSWD will raise the recycling tip fee at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).

The tip fee is the rate haulers pay to drop off large loads of recycling, which the MRF machinery and workers sort and bale into marketable commodities streams (see What are tip fees? for more detail).

The new tip fee will be $55 per ton for all recyclables, regardless of the source.

The previous tip fee was $25 per ton for all recyclables for recycling collected within Chittenden County (in-District) and $50 per ton for recycling collected outside of Chittenden County (out-of-District).

On average, each Chittenden County household produces roughly 0.26 tons (560 pounds) of cans, bottles, plastic containers, paper and other recyclables per year. This means that, at $55/ton, the cost for an average household would be $14.40/year.

What are tip fees?

Everything we discard in Chittenden County must go somewhere to be properly managed.

Tip Fee: $133/ton at the transfer station.

Items headed for Vermont’s one landfill in Coventry first go to a transfer station where they are put into a tractor-trailer for more efficient transport.

Tip fee: $52/ton at Green Mountain Compost.

Most food scraps are brought directly to Green Mountain Compost for processing into soil products.

Tip fee: $55/ton at the CSWD MRF. Most “blue bin” recyclables from the northern half of Vermont go to this MRF.

In perspective

Even in these challenging times, the tip fee for recycling is still considerably lower that what is charged to send material to the landfill—currently $133 per ton and higher in Chittenden County — because of the value we earn for these materials on the global commodities market. Markets notwithstanding, capturing these resources for recycling into new materials and products remains environmentally, socially, and economically better than trucking them to be wasted in a landfill.

Why the change

How to reduce your waste costs

  • Share service with your neighbors
  • Negotiate with your hauler (easier in big groups)
  • Get only the service you need (if you only produce 20 gallons/week, you don’t need a 96 gallon cart)
  • Get food out of your trash (Backyard/neighborhood compost)
  • Recycle better (not an immediate reduction, but long-term)
  • Consume less (Print two-sided, or don’t print at all, etc.)

Recyclables are commodities, like corn or oil. These commodities – the aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, and plastic bottles that you put in your recycling bin – are sorted at our MRF, baled in large blocks, and sold on a global marketplace. Just like the price of oil, the market price for recyclable commodities can fluctuate dramatically based on global demand.

China has long been far and away the largest purchaser of the world’s recycling. This importing behemoth began enacting a series of restrictions on incoming recyclables stretching back to 2013 that reached a head in mid-2017. The bottom-line outcome is that China’s new policies have rocked the recycling world.

In Vermont, we have been somewhat insulated from the harshest effects of these changes. Most of our recyclable material is sold domestically, in the US and Canada. (It is marketed by Casella Waste Systems, who operates the CSWD MRF).

Tip fee vs. Revenue: 12 years

That does not mean that we are immune from the impact of the global price drops. Whenever the revenue from selling recyclables does not cover all the costs to process the material, we must raise the tip fee to close that gap. When commodity prices rebound, we adjust the tip fee accordingly.

Recycling is never as simple as it appears. Global markets affect local options, and good habits by our local members—like rinsing out containers and recycling the RIGHT materials—make it possible for us to keep selling recyclables even in difficult markets.

Keep up the great work, and please contact CSWD with your questions, concerns and suggestions.

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Marketing & Communications Manager at CSWD
Jonny joined CSWD in 2014 after several years abroad where he ran websites, film projects, classrooms, and half marathons. Originally from Virginia, he was drawn to Vermont's strong sense of community, apple cider, and the search for Champ.