Wareham Recycling Center runs low on funding

May 14, 2019

At the 2018 Spring Town meeting, the town awarded Wareham Recycling Center with $25,000.  Nevertheless, the center is facing a shortage of funding, which might cause the center to close in the long run.

“At that time, we figured that $25,000 will keep the center open for five years, including the money that we bring in from donations and nickel bottle deposits,” said recycling coordinator Marilyn Russell. “Now, if we are lucky, the money will last us for three years.”

Recently, the tipping fees from ABC Disposal Service, Inc. have tripled. A tipping fee, also known as a gate fee, is the charge levied upon a given quantity of waste received at a waste processing facility. 

“For example, the tipping fee for the collected mixed paper went from $20 per ton to $117 per ton,” said Russell.

Russell believes that the increased tipping fee might be partially caused by China’s decision to pass the National Sword policy, which banned plastic waste from being imported beginning in January 2018.

For years, the United States has sold millions of tons of plastic waste to China instead of recycling it in the country. But ever since the Chinese government cut back on accepting almost all kinds of important trash, tons of yogurt cups, juice containers, shampoo bottles and other kinds of plastic waste are being shipped to other countries that don't have the capacity to recycle it or dispose of it safely.

“Because of the fact that China is no longer taking any recyclables from the USA, it causes hardship in the disposal of our material as well as increased cost,” said Russell.  

This year, the Wareham Recycling Center received a $2,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. However, the money cannot be used for any operating expenses.

“We can only use this grant to purchase composters, brochures, printing out newsletters, outreach, and ads,” said Russell.