A blue recycle bin and trash can. The Washington County Solid Waste District is currently visiting municipalities in the county in order to get a new contact for trash and recycle pick up by Republic Services approved, St. George, Utah, July 9, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — Starting next week, those living in Washington County municipalities involved in curbside recycling have the opportunity to opt out of the program.
Washington County recently entered into a new 10-year trash pick up and recycling agreement with Republic Services that begins February 2021. Prior to the beginning of the new contract, county residents are being given the opportunity to opt out between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 if they wish to.
“The bottom line is that you don’t need to do anything unless you want to opt in or opt out. If you want to decline the service, this window is your opportunity to do so. On the other hand, if you’re BluCan and want to keep using it, you don’t need to do anything,” Cheyne McDonald, chairman of the board, Washington County Solid Waste District, said in a press release.
Households that opted out of the original 2015 program will have their current status carry-over under the new contract. Those who wish to make a change should visit BluCan.org, which provides links to individual city websites.
Opt-out procedures will vary by municipality. Some will be offering an online opt-out form while others may be handling requests by phone.
It should be noted that someone’s opt-out status may only apply within the current municipality in which they live. If they choose to move to another municipality within the county, they may find themselves automatically opted into the program there.
Clarification on a household’s ability to opt out of the new program, or remain opted out, had been a sticking point for the Washington City Council prior to their city’s approval of the new contract.
Monthly recycling rates will also vary by city. The waste district charges a nominal fee to cover their costs, and each city adds their own fee to cover the costs of administration.
“The more residents opt to stay in or join the curbside recycling, the more cost-effective it will be for everyone,” McDonald said.
For example, under the current contract, regular trash removal in Washington City – including Republic’s fee and county and city administrative fees – is $12.60. The current recycling fee brings that up to $15.09.
Under the new contract, the cost for the first year of service in Washington City, minus recycling fees, is estimated to jump to $12.90. An estimated 2.5% annual increase over the next decade increases the trash fee to $14.62, barring any increases in administrative fees during that time.
An annual recycling change – which will be based on the number of participants within the program – will bring the total monthly cost for Washington City residents to $19.12 in the first year and $22.06 by the 10th.
St. George’s own base fee is currently $12.10 for trash only and $15.23 with recycling. Under the new contract, that will jump to $12.40 for trash only and $18.25 with recycling during the first year. By the 10th year of the contract, the monthly cost of trash removal with recycling in St. George combined is projected to be $21.19.
The projected costs of the recycling program are divided into three tiers.
- Tier 1, which would be over 51% enrollment, starts at $4.91 and increases to $6.13 by Jan. 1, 2030.
- Tier 2, 41%-50% enrollment, starts at $5.35 and increases to $6.68 by Jan. 1, 2030.
- Tier 3, 34%-41% enrollment, starts at $5.91 and increases to $7.38 by Jan. 1, 2030.
An estimated 87% of the Washington County Solid Waste District’s customers signed onto the original recycling program in 2015. Between 64,000 and 65,000 residences are served by the waste district.
If new enrollment dips below 34%, the new program will not be financially viable for Republic Services to move forward on.
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