The recycling industry is struggling in the United States. According to a recent bulletin provided by Waste Management, until this year almost 30% of all recyclables from around the world were shipped to China, including 50% of the world’s recyclable mixed paper and plastics.

China has implemented new aggressive environmental goals, which include establishing their own recycling programs, and, on January 1, banned all mixed paper and mixed plastic imports. Additionally, on March 1, China began enforcing a new 0.5% contamination limit on imported recyclables; then, on May 3, China announced it had suspended inspections for all recyclables from the U.S., and because all loads must be inspected and certified, this means that no recyclables will ship to China from the U.S. for at least a month. For more information on the industry issues and the impact it is having on the recycling industry, please visit

Due to these issues and the cost of cleaning up contaminated items that have been placed in recycling bins, Waste Management has increased rates for recycling toters. The rate for the first toter at each household will increase from $4.79/month to $6.90/month, and the rate for additional toters at a household will increase from $2.24/ month to $5.00/month.

While customers have no control over China’s new policies, we can help by reducing the number of contaminated items being placed in recycling toters. For more information on the most common contaminants found in recycling containers, please visit the website referenced earlier or my blog at: Waste Management has created a number of educational materials on how to best use the recycling program, and we will be sharing those with residents over the next several weeks, but we wanted residents to be aware of the associated rate increases that will be coming in July.

One other important item: We have implemented permanent fireworks restrictions, which are included on the front page of this newsletter and available on the city’s website. We had a mild winter, so we are experiencing dry conditions, which have already led to some large fires in the state. In order to reduce the risk of a house fire or harm to individuals, we ask residents to check the map and to only light fireworks in the approved areas. Additionally, the State Legislature shortened the timeframe for fireworks to July 2-5 and July 22-25.

I am grateful for this wonderful country and hope you have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July! 

Mayor Jenney Rees