Recycling: good but expensive

IMG_20160408_092900685        IMG_20160408_094502359

Today, for the first time, I recycled a big load of plastic and cardboard from the farm. There were about 120 2.5 gallon chemical jugs that had to be thoroughly cleaned with their thick walled boxes.

Recycling is not always easy.  It cost me over two hours of paid labor to clean the jugs, then preparations and loading, plus an hour to deliver 20 miles and driving costs.  The material was donated to Henry County Recycling Center, a project of the local government which has been losing money every year, costing taxpayers. They get paid for cardboard about $70 per ton delivered 40 miles away, and $40 per ton for #1 and #2 plastic, but they pay 10 full time employees, plus utilities and other operational expenses.

This recycling experience cost me over $50.  If I were to have hauled the load to the landfill it would have cost $15. Next time I will ask for the free pick-up service.

Sure, I am interested in the conservation aspect of not adding to landfills large amounts of material that can be recycled, but there is the economic reality that it will cost me and cost taxpayers.  Maybe in the future better management, more widespread recycling programs, and more efficient industrial recycling methods will lead to a better economic outlook.  At least, I figure, the factory which does the final recycling process is making money because there is a market offering some money for the material.  In sincerity, I look at the good and the bad in these issues, but have hopes that the future will look better.

Published by


A seventh generation farmer of good soils in Henry County Tennessee, I take seriously my responsibility to care for what has been entrusted to me for this life and to teach my children diligently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *