Virtually all of the materials we collect and recycle are priced to just cover the expense of appropriate recycling or disposal. It is part of our mission to provide these services to the community, and remove these materials from the waste stream.
Comingled Recyclables: $5/can, $250/ton
Downloadable list of acceptable co-mingled:
San Juan County shifted away from sorting recyclables a decade ago, as the industry shifted to co-mingled recycling, where you just throw everything (paper, plastic, steel, aluminum, glass) into one can. This reflected the move towards better and better “MRFs” or Materials Recovery Facilities—that use all kinds of high-tech machinery for sorting out all the recyclables. We currently ship our comingled recycling to Waste Management’s Cascade Recycling Facility in Woodinville WA. There our materials are sorted mechanically and by hand and compacted into large bales. These bales are commodities that then enter a complex brokering system. Much of the material ends up in Asia.
There are many problems with co-mingled recycling. It costs our community more, because we are not sorting it ourselves. Also glass no longer has any real value as a recyclable commodity–therefore we pay to recycle glass. The Exchange intends to re-introduce source separation for recyclables in the near future. We hope to accept sorted recycling for free or at a discount, and continue to charge for co-mingled. In fact, we are starting out now with aluminum!