Roy weighs recycling program, elimination possible if it gets too costly

A truck from Waste Management, Roy's trash hauler and recycler, travels a route in Roy on July 26.

OGDEN — When students at Weber School District go back to school on Aug. 21, they’ll see something different: there will be fewer, if any, recycling bins in their school buildings.

The school district told the Standard-Examiner Tuesday afternoon they were suspending indefinitely most of their recycling efforts amid rising costs in the transportation and intake of recycled goods.

The district will now only recycle clean cardboard and paper.

Lane Findlay, Weber School District spokesman, said the school district started discussing the financial challenges linked to recycling last year. The conversations intensified during the summer.

He noted that the recycling market has changed over the past years, and “it has forced us to make significant changes to our recycling program.”

“The near shutdown in the worldwide recycling market has caused prices to almost double to dispose recycled goods as opposed to trash,” Findlay said. “To help curb increasing costs, we have eliminated the majority of recycling bins at our schools.”

According to numbers provided by the school district, in 2011, the school district saved about $14,000 thanks to recycling incentives and recycling. The school district was expecting to pay about $300 a month in recycling efforts per building this coming school year.

Findlay said the school district will now focus their conservation efforts in going paperless, as well as using energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the school district’s buildings.

The situation at Weber School District is similar to others across the state.

Weber County is one of the governmental entities grappling with problems from it’s recycling program since about 2014.

According to previous Standard-Examiner reporting, “Recycling sunk the Weber County transfer station, digging a hole of debt hundreds of thousands of dollars deep. Last year, cities stopped sending their recycling to the county transfer station, opting instead to send the materials to Recycled Earth, an Ogden-based business.”

Recycling was further affected when China banned some types of post-consumer plastics and demanded cleanliness standards that will be tough for many U.S. markets to meet.

Findlay said school district officials are hopeful the market will improve in the future.

“Our whole lives we are taught to recycle, and it’s just unfortunate” to cut the recycling program, Findlay said. “We need to find a solution to it.”

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at smartinezbeltran@standard.net or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio.

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