Kingston ends drop-off recycling – News


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Kingston DPW Building.cv14kingston2DAVE SCHERBENCO/CITIZENS VOICE

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DAVE SCHERBENCO / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Kingston will no longer allow people to drop off recycling at the Department of Public Works warehouse.

KINGSTON — Disruptions in the international recycling market are making their way to Kingston.

The municipality will no longer allow people to drop off recycling at the Department of Public Works warehouse. Anyone caught dumping recyclable materials on municipal property will be cited for littering.

Curbside recycling remains available for Kingston residents and is unchanged. Kingston residents are also still allowed to take yard waste to the warehouse.

The new policy is a response to changes in the recycling market that sees the municipality paying about $57 per ton to dispose of single-stream recycling, said administrator Paul Keating. That’s $8 more per ton than what the municipality pays to tip garbage at a landfill.

The warehouse recycling container was a convenience for residents who didn’t want to wait until their day for curbside pick-up, but Kingston wasn’t able to devote municipal workers to make sure it was done properly.

“We weren’t sure if it was all Kingston recycling or if some of it came from other communities,” Keating said. “Because it was not policed, there was often garbage mixed in, and that has to be removed before it goes to the recycler.”

State law requires the municipality to offer recycling, but the current market means Kingston is paying more than it is used to. China had long been the leading purchaser of recyclables, but the country drastically cut its buying in 2018.

“What is going on right now has nothing to do with our community or the recycler we take our product to. It has to do with the global markets that are caught up in international trade wars,” Keating said. “The domestic markets can’t handle it and the international demand there is not what it once was because of what is going on on an international scale. It’s no fault of any one community in the Wyoming Valley or Pennsylvania or the recyclers we take products to. It is beyond us.”

The result for Kingston and many other municipalities was that the items they collected went from being a commodity that produced a small revenue to a liability. Keating estimated that tipping fees for recycling disposal now cost the municipality about $85,000 to $100,000 annually. The municipality stopped taking recycling from businesses in 2018 because of the cost.

The policy regarding dropping off items at the warehouse is a smaller adjustment, but officials expect it to save some money. In the meantime, they continue to monitor recycling markets and hope something changes soon.

Contact the writer:

570-821-2051, @CVBillW

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