Recycling sometimes gets politicized, which is unfortunate because it’s really not a political issue. Case in point: Provo has save a bundle of money through its recycling program. According to an article by my colleague Caleb Warnock, the city will save millions over the long run:
It’s also good for the public pocketbook in many ways. First, when trash trucks take garbage away to dump, the city pays a per-ton landfill fee. Provo paid $135,000 less in fees this year, because recycling diverted nearly 1,500 tons of trash.
But that is not the best benefit, the mayor said. Because opt-out recycling removed 5 percent of Provo’s trash last year, the life of the landfill is extended, which will save taxpayers millions over time. The life of the landfill also is extended by the city’s green waste program, which takes grass and yard clippings and turns them into compost, instead of filling the landfill with them.
“Now you are talking millions and millions of dollars, and that is where the real savings is,” he said.
Those savings will directly and indirectly benefit residents as they’re passed on in the form of public programs, less debt and possibly lower taxes over the long term.
The article goes on to state that after Provo switched to an opt-in recycling program — which automatically enrolls residents — it saw a 250 percent increase in participation. It also mentions that Provo is trying to figure out how to do glass recycling, which is something I called for here.
The overall message here is that recycling is as good for the pocket book as it is for the environment.