China Will Buy Anything, Even Philly's Recyclables

By Aaron Kase
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Apr. 8, 2010

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Recycling pays. Really.

Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson announced yesterday that the city is receiving $25.89 per ton for its recycling. That’s an increase from $5.40 last quarter, and previously the city was paying around a dollar per ton to cart away your glass, plastics and old copies of PW.
It costs the city about $65 a ton to send waste to landfills, so that’s a $90 swing if you put a ton of recyclables in the blue bin instead of throwing them away.
 
Recyclables are considered commodities so the price fluctuates based on the whims of the market, and apparently there is a big demand in the Far East right now, according to Tolson. We’re not sure why China wants our trash and we are appropriately suspicious, but the money’s right so we’ll take it.

To encourage more people to recycle, or “paw around in your garbage like a starving raccoon” as Mr. Burns puts it, the city has started to phase in its Recycling Rewards program. The program gives out coupons for local businesses based on the volume that a particular community recycles. Yes, it’s based on the community total, so there’s no point in stealing your neighbor’s empties in the middle of the night.

So the more you recycle, the more money the city makes and the more money you save at ShopRite, as long as China keeps buying our garbage.

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