Blog Post

The Truth About Recycling

Recycling Is As Close To Free As Can Be

During my time at Rumpke, I have performed hundreds of tours and presentations. Each audience offers its own unique questions and stories relating to Rumpke and I have to be honest, I really do enjoy them all.

Some have warm memories of the Rumpke family, some have had their picture taken with our mascot Binny, others have kind compliments for our drivers and most everyone has a question or two. One of the most common questions I receive is: “Why can’t recycling be free?”  My answer: Recycling is as close to free as it can be...for now.

The bottom line is that recycling, like just about everything else, costs money.

Recycling is a separate business operation with its own set of fixed costs. It costs millions of dollars to employ and provide insurance benefits to drivers and plant employees. Meanwhile, the operational costs, including the Blog_TruthAboutRecyclinginstallation of new sorting equipment and maintenance fees, reach into the tens of thousands each month. This doesn’t include the cost of trucks (each truck costs $180,000 to $300,000), fuel or other expenses related to hauling.

The values of the collected recyclables constantly fluctuate; meanwhile Rumpke’s fixed costs don’t. Therefore, there have been times when Rumpke has made money on recycling and times when it has not been as successful. No matter the market circumstances, Rumpke remains committed to the effort.

Watch these videos to learn what happens to your recyclables.

Whether you pay directly for recycling or through your municipal taxes, the expenses have to be covered. It is then Rumpke’s job to efficiently process those recyclables and pay for the expenses with the sale of those items. 

Minimizing the cost of recycling is beneficial to Rumpke and its customers. Rumpke is working to keep recycling costs to a minimum- to make recycling an affordable alternative to landfills. More efficiency, more participation and improving markets all collaborate to drive recycling costs down, but for now, recycling remains as close to free as it can be.

About the author: Amanda Pratt is the Director of Corporate Communications at Rumpke.

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