BEND, OR -- As prices increase for sorting recycled material, those costs could be passed to garbage customers. Some Oregonians are already seeing price hikes on their garbage bills, most recently in Washington County.
At the beginning of the year, China stopped accepting recyclable material from the U.S. due to contamination, forcing American companies to find other, more expensive places to send it. Bend Garbage and Recycling President Brad Bailey understands China's reason, "They're trying to clean up some of their polluting facilities and so there's motivation on their side to try and do it better in China, which is affecting this. [It] really has nothing to do with what we've been exporting to them, It's just, they're trying to do things different[ly] and even recover more of their materials locally."
Bailey says he's working with county officials to determine what's best. But, he tells KBND News he wants to hold off on raising rates as long as possible. But, customers can help by following the recycle guide
, "The biggest thing that we can do locally is make sure that we recycle right
, and if in doubt, we leave it out of the cart. That will make the product much more marketable once it's processed, and higher value, long term; so it's important that you do it right."
Central Oregon's recyclable material is not sorted locally. Bailey says it's baled and sent to Portland for sorting at major recycling facilities. It now costs more for those facilities to carefully scrutinize materials to pull out contaminants and materials banned in other countries. It's then shipped to foreign markets. Deschutes County sends out about 1,100 tons of baled recyclables each month.