FROM

Recycling is becoming so expensive that some towns don’t know what to do

Boston is now paying nearly $5 million to have recycling collections carted away, up from just $200,000 in 2017.

A trash truck picked up a recycle bin in Westfield, a town that may abandon its popular curbside recycling program. –David L Ryan/Globe Staff

WESTFIELD — On a recent afternoon here, with urgency in the air, local officials huddled to consider what until recently was unthinkable. Should they abandon their popular curbside recycling program? Or spend millions to build a plant to process plastic and paper on their own?

With the recycling market across the country mired in crisis, a growing number of cities and towns are facing a painful reckoning: whether they can still afford to collect bottles, cans, plastics, and paper, which have so plummeted in value that in some cases they have become effectively worthless.

“We’re looking at going from paying nothing to paying $500,000 a year,’’ said Dave Billips, the director of public works in Westfield, referring to the city’s recycling costs. “That’s going to have a major impact.’’

Jump To Comments
Close

Get the latest breaking news sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.