Recycling hit with costs in Ontario County

The company that runs the Ontario County landfill and recycling center is losing money on recyclables. America’s recycling industry is in the dumps, for one thing. That’s due largely to new restrictions by China, long the world’s leading buyer of recyclables.

Waste companies like Casella Waste Systems, which manages the county landfill/ recycling site, are now paying to process many of the recyclables they used to be able to sell.

Recycling is costing Casella “more than what they are getting,” said Canadice Town Supervisor Kris Singer, who heads the county committee overseeing the landfill. “They are not even breaking even.”

The dilemma has been the subject of several discussions between county leaders and representatives of Casella, which has a contract with the county to manage its landfill and recycling operations. That contract is good news for households, at least for now. Under the contract, Casella is not allowed to charge for residential recycling. While it would be possible to amend the contract, with approval of the county Board of Supervisors, that is not currently on the radar. However, commercial customers within Ontario County that had been recycling for free now pay.

Casella had already been charging to take recyclables coming in from outside the county; now that commercial rate applies to customers within Ontario County, said Singer.

Naples Town Supervisor Tamara Hicks said concerns over recycling costs prompted her to talk with Casella representatives. She was assured that residential and municipal recycling remains free in Ontario County, per the contract. “Also, we have been having an ongoing conversation with Casella at the county that there is a cost to recycle,” Hicks said. “Casella currently charges commercial customers $80/ton to recover some of their cost.

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