EWSU proposes recycling fee monthly rate increase

Local News

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEH) The new year could bring new, higher recycling fees for Evansville residents.

Evansville water and sewer utility is proposing a three-phase rate increase.

Right now, it costs an Evansville household more than $10 a month to recycle aluminum cans or other items. If a proposed rate hike increase is approved by the city council, that fee could go up in a few years.

The proposed rate hike would raise the monthly $10.65 fee to $12.80 starting next year, to $13.05 in 2021, then to $13.30 a month in 2022. Allen Mounts of Evansville Water and Sewer Utility says decisions by China and other countries to not buying recycled materials from the u-s is hurting their bottom line of some, including Tri-State Resource Recovery, who collects recycling from Evansville residents.

“It cost them about $80 a ton to process the recycling and they’re getting about $20 in revenue from that, so they’re losing $60 a ton, to the tune of about $300,000 a year,” says Mounts.

It’s one reason utility officials decided to propose the increase. The city Water and Sewer Utility board approved it by a 3-1 vote, moving it to city council for its approval as soon as next month.

“At this point, we are committed to it and feel like the financial model we put together gets us to the position where utility is not incurring a loss and Tri-State Resource Recovery is not incurring a loss,” says Mounts.

Board member Archie Carter voted against it, and proposed an opt-out option for residents if they don’t want to be in the program. That proposal failed. He said more residents should learn how their recycling program works.

“A lot of people need to be made aware of these things instead of saying, ‘Oh well, here’s another cost’ and not being told exactly what it all entails,” Carter says.

Other cities have changed their recycling programs recently. Earlier this year, the city of Owensboro decided to stop accepting plastic at their recycling center because of global recycling market problems.

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(This story was originally published on November 26, 2019)

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