Residential recycling fees likely to rise as Bethlehem eyes new contractors

Written by on August 19, 2022

Residential recycling fees likely to rise as Bethlehem eyes new contractors

By Megan Frank
August 19, 2022

BETHLEHEM, Pa – It may soon cost more for residents to recycle in Bethlehem.

The city’s recycling contractor, Republic Services, has a deal worth more than $1 million that it doesn’t plan to renew at the end of the year.

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At a Bethlehem City Council meeting this week, Director of Community and Economic Development Laura Collins said the company cited a number of reasons why it can’t continue service.

“Republic has informed us that they’re dealing with a number of staffing issues, supply chain issues, also fuel charges,” Collins said. 

Another reason cited for a potential fee hike is the city’s dual-stream recycling system, which can take longer and cost more to process.  Under the system, city residents use two containers to recycle — a green one for cans, glass and plastic and a blue one for paper.

Collins warned council that most contractors are facing the same problems as Republic Services.  She said that means a new recycling agreement will cost more. 

“What’s playing out because of these trends are increases that are 50, 60, 70 — even 100-percent increases,” she said. 

Mayor William Reynolds told council that fees will likely need to go up in 2023.

“It seems unlikely that we’re going to be able to keep it at $70,” said Reynolds. “I think the last time that we raised that fee was in 2016.”

Reynolds also told the council that it may need to consider whether or not to switch to a single container system under a new recycling agreement.

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