For most of the past decade, Portland residents got a monthly credit for the value of the recyclables placed in their blue bins
Back in 2009, for instance, the average resident's recycling was worth enough to yield a $1.82 credit on each monthly garbage bill.
But as WW explored in this week's cover story, the economics of recycling have changed. China exited the market, saying most of the recycling shipped from the U.S. was too filthy to accept.
Haulers and their customers now have to pay processors to take the materials. That's meant a big jump in monthly waste bills, almost all due to the cost of recycling.
In May, the city of Portland issued new solid waste removal rates for 2018-19.
Those rates showed a massive increase in the monthly cost per household attributable to recycling—it jumped from 27 cents to $2.18. That accounted for most of the $2.55 per month total increase residents will pay. Residents with 20-gallon can service will now pay $27.15 per month for a 20-gallon can service and $31.80 for a 35-gallon roll cart.
Here's a chart of the past 10 years monthly cost attributable to recycling (a negative number means customers earned a credit on their bill each month; a positive number means they had to pay to get rid of the recycled materials):