OGDEN — Ogden City has suspended its recycling program after they say the cost went up by 47 percent this month.
The vendor, who has been handling the city’s recycling, says they are trying to keep up with market prices, which were thrown into flux when China stopped buying American waste plastic.
Mark Johnson, Ogden City's chief administrative officer, said the city has been working on a contract with Ogden-based Recycled Earth.
“As we’ve been trying to work through the contract negotiations, suddenly the price escalated about 47 percent, which made it more expensive to recycle than to take things to the transfer station,” Johnson said.
Recycled Earth owner David Rawson said the company had to increase its prices because the market demanded it.
“When I got my price increase on the 15th, I had to do the same because I realized that I’m having a hard time,” he said. “Since China closed its doors to our products from the United States and India has come right after that, it’s been really tough to find market for the product.”
Rawson said he is charging the city based on market rates, which fluctuate each month. He said he has had to use short-term financing on equipment at his facility because he has no long-term agreement with the city. A contract, Rawson said, would allow him to finance his equipment over a longer term, helping to make things more affordable.
The city has suspended its recycling program while they negotiate. In the meantime, garbage trucks are still picking up recyclables, but the materials will be sent to a landfill.
“Right now, it’s going to the transfer station, but we don’t want people to get out of the habit of it. Our hope is this is a short-term thing,” Johnson said. “We hope it’s temporary. That’s our goal, to make it temporary. That price is unacceptable to be that much higher than to just take regular trash to the garbage.”
Rawson said the 47 percent increase works out to about $0.12 per household per month.
“What is too much? Is $0.12 per household per month too much? In my household, I’d be happy if somebody could take my recycling for $0.12 a month,” he said.
Rawson said the cost could drop next month. Johnson said Ogden City is committed to offering a recycling program. Both sides hope to see some kind of resolution.