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Is Rumpke still recycling your paper and plastic?

Some cities burning, dumping recycled goods
Posted: 10:39 AM, Mar 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-21 10:58:14-04

A disturbing rumor is going around cities all over the U.S.

Are recycling trucks really recycling cardboard and plastic anymore, or are they just throwing it out and tossing it into landfills?

Some homeowners are concerned after hearing cities on the East Coast are now dumping or burning their recycling because they are unable to find a buyer for it.

Homeowners get concerned

Michael Shaw is an avid recycler. "Don't dump it," he tells his neighbors.

Each week he puts out as much cardboard, glass and plastic as he can for the recycling truck at his Wyoming, Ohio home.

But he worries Rumpke may not want it anymore, after reading news reports saying China has stopped buying our recycling goods.

With the foreign demand drying up, some waste companies around the country have been forced to drop their recycling entirely.

"I understand its more expensive to recycle than it is to throw away," Shaw said. "There's no profit margin in it anymore."

And that leaves a lot of customers with a lot of questions.

Rumpke sets the record straight

Rumpke's Recycling Director, Steve Sargent, admits they are now facing tough times in the recycling business.

"How do we continue to provide the service, when we have lost the value of the material," Sargent said. "We are at a 9-year low today in the value of recyclables."

With costs rising, he says Rumpke has been forced to raise recycling fees in the past year.

As a result, a growing number of Cincinnati area communities have cut back recycling to every other week, instead of weekly.

But Sargent says there is no truth to rumors that some recycling now just goes to the landfill.

"No, it is not going into the landfill," he said. "We have invested millions of dollars in the recycling infrastructure."

Rumpke recently opened a multi-million dollar facility in St. Bernard and has added another in central Ohio. Sargent says the company is committed to keeping recycling going, despite the downturn.

"It's come home and we have to deal with it," he said.

That means homeowners like Shaw can breath easier ... for now.

(One footnote: Rumpke says please do no put plastic bags or old batteries into your recycling bin: Bags can can jam their equipment, and lithium batteries can start a fire if crushed.)

So keep recycling, and don't waste your money.


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