Some recyling is being processed as trash in the Corbett area as are several Oregon companies.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: MATT DEBOW - A yard debris truck picks up yard waste in Portland. Crown Point Refuse has been disposing of co-mingled recycling as waste in the Corbett area.

Neighbors in Corbett noticed that garbage trucks picking up recyling and dumping in along with garbage.

Crown Point President Randall Burbach confirmed this practice and confirmed that they had not informed their customers.

"The recycling market right now is pretty much dead," Burbach said. "We are taking the material at the curb to not raise rates so we can haul it to a disposal site."

Burbach said the company will start accepting recycling once the materials become valuable again.

"We will are leaving the (recycling) equipment with the customers in hopes that it will it return, Burbach said."I did see some frustration with my customers. I apologize to my customer base for not getting the information out sooner."

Burbach said his company got permission from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Twelve Mile Disposal, which runs Crown Point, applied for a concurrence from DEQ, which allows a company to dispose of certain recyclables as waste.

"It's an acknowledgment that the material doesn't meet the definition of recycling," said. Peter Spendelow, DEQ natural resource specialist. "If it costs more to collect it, haul it, sort, and ship it off than it does to process it as garbage, then it doesn't meet the definition of recyclables."

It is legal for a garbage company to collect recyclable materials at the curbside and process it as garbage with a concurrence, Spendelow said. It is not legal for a company to do so without a concurrence.

According to the DEQ website, there have been 22 concurrences

with 9,548 tons from Oct. 5, 2017 to March 31.

The bigger picture

China has set a standard of accepting one half of one percent contaminated material, which makes it too expensive for Spendelow said. While China is not buying that much recycling, other countries such as Malaysia Korea and Vientam are starting to buy the material.

China, the biggest buyer of recyclables from the U.S., set a standard

"This will self correct over time," he said. "Most of what was recycled in the past was contaminated recyclables.

Such as when a plastic water bottle gets flattened it acts like paper and the screen that are supposed to segregate those materials won't catch unless the processing machines run the materials three or four times, which would be too expensive, Spendelow said.

Other recyling option

Corbett Garbage Service, another provider in the Corbett area, has not changed its practices regarding still recycling however, with increasing costs to process recycling they will have to start charging for the service, Co-owner Shannon Jolley said. They are running two trucks one for recycling and one for garbage.

"We are still separating, but the recycling facilities are closing down left and right," Jolley said. "When we started, they paid us," Jolley said. "Over the years its been getting more and more expensive."

Now it costs garbage haulers $110 per ton to take recycling to the transfer station, she said, which is comparable to the price of processing garbage.

Corbett Garbage processes about three tons of recycling per month.

Jolley stressed that the issue of increasing recycling costs is a nationwide issue as China stopped accepting many of the recyclables that is was buying from the United States.

"The U.S. is being inundated with recycling," Jolley said.

Jolley noted that customer's are placing garbage items, such as dirty electronics and shoes, in their recycling bins.

"They use that bin as a catchall," Jolley said.

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