City, county see drop in recyclable proceeds

Columbus-area recycling programs are seeing much less cash from the sale of recyclable material due to ripple effects from recent Chinese government restrictions curtailing imports of certain recyclables.

Last year, the Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District saw revenue from the sale of recyclable material fall to $192,603 from $227,971 in 2017, a 15.5 percent drop, according to the district’s annual report.

Previously, revenue had more than doubled from 2015 and 2017. The county processed 2,611 tons of recyclable material last year — more than 10 times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

The city of Columbus, for its part, has not fared as well, pulling in a total of $11,512 from the sale of nearly 2,152 tons of recyclable material from its curbside pickup program since February 2015, according to city data. The city hasn’t received a penny since September 2017, when the formula in the city’s recycling contract resulted in zero funding being returned to the program.

“It’s not about getting revenue back,” said Bryan Burton, director of Columbus Department of Public Works, which oversees the city’s recycling program. “We’ve saved more than ($11,512) in disposal fees. That’s the main thing.”

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.