by Mike Knaak
China’s efforts to clean up its environment could hit St. Joseph residents in the pocketbook.
The United States accounts for 40 percent of recyclables sent to China.
In March, China lowered acceptable contamination levels from 3 percent to .5 percent in paper and plastic and banned all mixed paper.
As a result, prices paid to recyclers crashed from $97.50 per ton to $5.
St. Joseph’s waste hauler, Republic Services, asked the St. Joseph City Council to consider raising rates in 2019 by 75 cents per household per month. Revenues from recycling are not covering collection costs.
Although Republic told the city that it would honor the prices for the last two years of its contract, the company asked the council to consider an increase.
In addition to a fee increase, Republic urged public education on what to recycle to cut down contamination in the recycling stream.
The council took no action at the July 2 meeting.