County recycling program no longer free

Recycled refuse moves along a “walking floor” as it makes its way onto a semi truck from the Cochise County Solid Waste Station. The county will begin charging for recyclable drop-offs starting Sept. 12.

BISBEE — Cochise County is amending its recycling program to meet the decline in demand for materials. The move will help save rate payer funds, due to the current system being subsidized, and will keep the current tipping fee stable.

Due to significant changes in market conditions, which means many recyclables are no longer being purchased by vendors, the County’s free recycling program is no longer financially sustainable.

“Unfortunately, market conditions and the cost of transporting and processing materials has resulted in the County — and the users of the solid waste system — having to subsidize the recycling program,” said Public Works Director Marty Haverty. “In the long run, this will not be sustainable, with costs likely to continue to rise.”

Starting Thursday, Sept. 12, residents who drop-off their recyclables at a county transfer station will be charged the normal tipping fees as detailed below.

Those who drop recyclables at a rural transfer station in Double Adobe, Dragoon, Elfrida, Portal, San Simon, St. David, Sunizona, Sunsites and Tombstone will be charged a fixed fee, depending on the size of load, as follows:

• Per bag (35 gallons or smaller) $2 each

• Car, van or station wagon $4 each

• Pick-up or single-axle trailer (up to 2 cubic yards in volume) $7 each

• 55 gallon barrels/containers $3 each

• Any load over 2 cubic yards in volume $6.40 per cubic yard

Residents who drop-off at an urban transfer station in Benson, Bisbee, Douglas, Sierra Vista Willcox and the Western Regional Landfill will be charged $64 per ton.

“The average resident will pay just a few dollars, based on what we currently see brought into our transfer stations,” added Haverty. “We will continue to monitor market conditions and, in the meantime, we will continue to aggressively recycle as many materials as we can.”

For more information call Public Works at 520-803-3770.

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