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Recycling woes

Posted: September 28, 2017 3:19 p.m.
Updated: September 29, 2017 1:00 a.m.

It appears recycling is becoming a little more complicated than it used to be, both in the city and elsewhere.

We don’t wish to appear to be alarmist, but we are concerned.

Not too long ago, the city had to stop accepting glass for recycling. This is because Sonoco, the Hartsville-based company with which the city contracts to receive its recycling materials announced it could no longer accept glass. Not only had the market tanked, the cost of prepping the materials -- cleaning contaminants out of glass bottles, for example -- had become too cost prohibitive. 

Now, the city of Camden has to once again ask residents to be more diligent in what they place in recycle bins. In addition to glass, Sonoco does not handle mixed metals and wire, medical waste, clothing, food waste or plastic bags. In fact, the cost of separating contaminants and non-recyclable items from recycling materials has increased to the point where Sonoco has informed the city it will charge penalties if such materials are found among the recyclable material loads as well as disposal fees to transport those contaminant materials to the landfill -- fees which could run to as high as $40,000 extra per year to the city.

That ultimately means such costs will be passed right along to all of us.

It’s not as easy to solve as finding another recycling company -- there simply are no others in close enough proximity to Camden to be affordable. In other words, Sonoco Recycling is the “only game in town,” at least at the moment.

The city is launching a public education campaign regarding this situation and we encourage everyone to take a few minutes to educate themselves on the situation.

It’s a shame that doing the right things and trying to do our part to help the environment can be both expensive and inconvenient. 

Then again, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. And nothing, but nothing, on this planet -- including the health of the planet -- is free.

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