New year, new recycling fee; $3 per can starts Jan. 1

A $3 per-can recycling fee will take effect beginningJan. 1.

It will replace the current $5 drop-off fee for up to three cans. Truckloads of recycling will now be charged $95 per ton, up from a flat $25 per truck charge.

The new dropoff fees will apply only to the San Juan Island and Orcas Island transfer stations. Fees for recycling at the locally operated Lopez Island dump will not be affected; the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District will begin operations Jan. 1.

State-certified hauler San Juan Sanitation will have to pay the higher rate, but because the company increased its curbside pickup fee for recycling in September, its fee is not expected to rise.

The increase was triggered by a Dec. 31 expiration of the county’s 10-year contract for recycling transportation and processing with Waste Management.

The per-ton cost, which had remained essentially flat over the life of the contract, will double starting Jan. 1 and a new $1,108 fee will be added for each trip that Waste Management's big recycling trailers make to the mainland.

The result is that hauling and processing costs paid by the county will jump from the current $36 per ton to $143 per ton of recycling. While approving the increase in recycling fees by a 4-to-2 vote (council members Patty Miller and Lovel Pratt voted "no"), the San Juan County Council voted to hold garbage fees at the current level and eliminated fees charged for the annual household hazardous waste collection events.

The county solid waste facilities on Orcas and San Juan Islands are scheduled to be turned over for operation by private contractors this spring.

A complete copy of the new fee ordinance is available on the county Web-site at



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