RIO RANCHO, N.M. — After releasing the article on the city’s decision to raise recycling rates 18 cents per month and only offer the service every other week, the Observer has heard its share of negativity on the subject.
Many of our poll responses wavered on the issue, with some saying the increase was too much and others saying it takes three weeks to fill the can anyway. Whichever camp you belong to, it’s important to consider what could have been in light of the 18 cent increase.
There was talk between the city and Waste Management trash pickup service at one point of raising the fee 68 cents to keep every-week recycling service. However, it is important to look at a few factors.
First, we are a bedroom community, which means when services that we depend on become more expensive, we as taxpayers have to take it on the chin and pay it.
Second, Rio Rancho is not experiencing this type of thing in a vacuum. The entire country is experiencing an increase in recycling fees for services and some areas just can’t afford to continue the program at all.
The culprit of this hike is not a processing facility down the hill; it lies within the domino effect of China refusing our recycling goods because they say there was too much trash found inside the shipments.
This maneuver has left some cities to re-evaluate what can be done with their recycling, with some places like Sunrise, Fla., opting to burn its recycling instead of ship it.
Another aspect to consider is the cost of recycling inspections. Contamination in an inspection can be costly. Many measures like banning plastic bags and straws, long pushed by environmental groups, are now gaining traction more widely because of this.
Then we have to consider the truth. How many times a month do we fill a large recycling container that needs to be picked up? Many comments on our Facebook poll question for last week alluded to the fact that it takes some residents a full three weeks for this to happen.
If we take our time and place the proper items that have been properly cleaned into a large bin, chances are a weekly pickup is not necessary. We have to consider the fact and blessing that we still have a recycling system at all, given the choices other cities have had to make.
The Observer stands by the recycling increase because we understand the alternative. Maybe instead of just being green on recycle day, we should live green daily. Many of the products we place in our recycle bins can be avoided if not purchased in the first place. And for those who need recycling every week, this notion is especially for you. Cut back on items that need to be recycled for items that can be reused. It’s great to cry wolf when a fee-increase happens, but if you look at the bigger picture, Rio Rancho is sitting pretty with a recycling program still intact.