The rising cost of processing recyclables worldwide is putting pressure on the local handler of such items, Recycled Earth, to boost the rates it charges in Ogden and South Ogden. That, in turn, has South Ogden officials weighing whether to increase the rates local residents face or eliminate the program, a similar dilemma that other Weber County cities like Roy and North Ogden have faced.
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Before taking action, though, the South Ogden City Council is holding a public hearing to get input from the public. It’ll be held during the regular council meeting on Tuesday, which starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, 3950 S. Adams Ave.
The key point to be clarified for South Ogden leaders, said City Manager Matt Dixon, is whether the public is willing to pay higher rates for recycling. “That’s the question, and if so, how much more?” he said.
One option, Dixon said, is doing away with the program until the recycling market improves enough to make it more financially sustainable. If that’s the direction officials go, all home refuse would be hauled for burial at a landfill.
Ogden leaders also face increased rates from Recycled Earth in the handling of recyclables and are in the midst of negotiations with the company to resolve the situation. Late last month, the city announced it had suspended its recycling program amid the talks but it resumed the program on April 9, even as negotiations continue.
Recycled Earth has charged a fee of $39.40 per ton to handle recyclables from South Ogden, but proposes increasing that to more than $53, a jump of some 34%, according to Dixon. Ogden officials have said they face a 47% jump in tipping fees for recycling, and Dixon said Recycled Earth officials hope to resolve the issue by May 1.
Republic Services collects trash and recyclables in South Ogden, and South Ogden property owners pay for the service on their monthly city utility bill. While recyclables go to Recycled Earth, trash goes to the Weber County transfer station to be buried in a landfill later.
Due to similar market pressures, officials in Roy and North Ogden last year agreed to increases in rates customers pay to salvage their recycling programs. Per the change in Roy, customers had the option of opting out of the recycling program and going with just trash collection.
China has scaled back the quantity of recyclables it takes from U.S. markets, in part because the materials are sometimes too dirty to be processed, which has pushed the cost of recycling up.