FAQ: Curbside Recycling Discontinued

FAQ: DISCONTINUATION OF CURBSIDE RECYCLING

 

The City of Greer has made the decision to discontinue curbside recycling services beginning on August 1, 2022. Materials are no longer profitable for the sanitation contractor, and that cost has been absorbed by the City. We understand you may have questions about how the City is moving forward.

 

Why did the City of Greer end curbside recycling beginning in August?

The city has two primary expenses related to sanitation services. The cost to collect Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and the cost to dispose of that waste. Our sanitation contractor charges the city a per resident fee to collect MSW and the city pays the disposal costs on a per ton basis.

 

The City of Greer contracts this service with Meridian Waste and pays $75 per ton to dispose of recycled materials versus a maximum of $41 per ton for MSW.

 

Since the sanitation fund was created in 2017, it has operated in the red. Currently, the prior accumulated deficit is $256,623, with the current year’s deficit estimated to be $205,000. This leaves a projected shortfall of $461,623 by the end of FY2022. Revenues have never been enough to cover expenses.

 

Did the City of Greer hold public meetings and/or notify the public previous to the decision to end curbside recycling? 

Yes. Greer City Council discussed the discontinuation of curbside recycling in the 2022-23 City of Greer Budget. There were two public readings of the budget. The first was during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on May 24, 2022, and the second occurred during another regularly scheduled meeting on June 14, 2022. City Council Meeting Minutes can also be found at this link.

 

Further, the local news media was alerted of the change and ran several stories on the issue. The Greenville Journal first mentioned the City’s issues with the cost of recycling in 2021. WYFF attended the first reading of the proposed budget on May 24, 2022. WSPA ran this story following the first reading of the proposed budget. Following the approval of the budget, both WYFF and Fox Carolina ran stories regarding the elimination of curbside recycling.

 

Additionally, the City of Greer has dedicated a web page to information on the discontinuation. The issue has also been discussed on all forms of the City’s social media.

 

How expensive is curbside recycling for taxpayers?

The City of Greer pays $75 per ton to dispose of recycled materials versus a maximum of $41 per ton for MSW.

 

Since the sanitation fund was created in 2017, it has operated in the red. Currently, the prior accumulated deficit is $256,623, with the current year’s deficit estimated to be $205,000. This leaves a projected shortfall of $461,623 by the end of FY2022. Revenues have never been enough to cover expenses.

 

The city went from collecting 276 tons of recycled materials in FY2008 to 1,280 tons in FY2022 with a projection of that increasing to 1,500 tons in FY2023. The cost to dispose of recycled materials has gone from $0 to a projected $112,500 in FY2023.

 

In the FY2022 budget, the cost for sanitation services is $158 per residence compared to the current $139 fee per residence. Maintaining curbside recycling would require that fee increase to $166 per residence. This increase does not account for the cost to pay off the deficit created by the problem.

 

Why is curbside recycling ineffective? 

Curbside recycling is considered single-stream recycling, which involves placing all recyclables in one bin pickup. According to Meridian Waste, for every 2,000 pounds of recycling material collected, 450 pounds are contaminated. Contaminated items include things like plastic shopping bags, pizza boxes, take-out containers, milk and juice cartons, Styrofoam, and shredded paper.

 

How can I continue recycling? 

The City of Greer encourages those who wish to continue recycling to do so. Residents will still be able to drop off their recycling at the City of Greer Convenience Center located at 315 Buncombe Street and other Greenville and Spartanburg County centers.

A company called Recyclops has expanded into Greenville County. The service is by subscription, and Recyclops drivers will come by your residence in a truck biweekly to pick up recyclables from your doorstep for only $12/month. Residents who want to keep the convenience of curbside recycling can continue paying for the service, while residents who do not mind visiting drop-off sites or do not want to recycle at all do not have to pay for curbside recycling. This system is in place in the City of Simpsonville, which discontinued curbside recycling for similar reasons in 2021.

 

You can request that Recyclops expand into the City of Greer, and officials are working on contacting the company about further opportunities.

 

What do I do with my recycling bin? 

You can keep it and use it as you see fit, drop it off at the City of Greer Public Services Department at 446 Pennsylvania Ave., or leave it empty at the curb and it will be picked up.

 

Will curbside recycling be discontinued forever?

This program will need to be reevaluated likely several times over the coming years. This was expressed to the council when discussed within the budget process. Right now, this is the best option, but there could be changes in the future.

 

Who can I contact if I have questions, concerns, or comments? 

You can reach out to your City Council member directly. Find who represents you and their contact information here.