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[GreenYes] Recycling budgets on the ropes in some cities
WASTE NEWS (Tuesday, February 12, 2002)

Headline News

Recession hits some cities´ recycling budgets harder than others

(Feb. 11) -- Recycling services could continue unaffected in some major 
cities, while others will be tightening their belts in response to the 
recessionary economy.
Many recycling coordinators and public works officials have submitted 
budget proposals to their respective city councils for approval. They do 
not expect to have to cut services, despite the downturn in the U.S. economy.
"I do not anticipate in any way, shape or form a cutback in the present 
level of service," said Joseph F. Casazza, Boston´s public works 
commissioner. "The mayor of Boston has said, through this fiscal stress 
that we´re going through, we´re not going to reduce the level of service 
we´re providing."
Casazza said he hopes the department may be able to modestly expand the 
city´s recycling program. The budget proposal includes some expanded 
services in it, though the city will not be able to add as much as it would 
like, he said.
But Philadelphia, drawing half of its operating budget from the general 
fund, will have to make some cuts.
"I think over the two budget cycles, it´s going to be painful," said David 
Robinson, Philadelphia´s recycling coordinator. "I think we´re probably in 
better shape than some other cities I´ve talked to, but we´re hanging on by 
a thread like everyone else."
The next budget cycle could see as much as a 20 percent cut, Robinson said. 
Further cuts may be necessary if the economy doesn´t turn around soon.
"Recycling´s sort of lost its sex appeal, and we really are struggling 
right now for survival," he said.
In Portland, which reports a 53.6 percent recycling rate, recycling should 
be relatively unaffected, said Bruce Walker, manager of the city´s 
recycling program. The city gets its funding from franchise agreements with 
waste and recycling service providers rather than taxpayers.
"The changes will be minimal adjustments that, more or less, aren´t worth 
reporting," Walker said. "However, I say that with a knock on wood."
Though the recycling program doesn´t draw from the general fund, there is 
always the possibility that the City Council could tap into the recycling 
program´s money. But that is a long shot, Walker said.
"It would raise it to a whole new level, because that hasn´t occurred to 
date," he said.
Even though services to residents should maintain the status quo, some 
cities are feeling the crunch when it comes time to sell their recyclables. 
Phoenix´s glass processor closed last year in the midst of the recession, 
and mills have reduced the tonnage of old corrugated containers they are 
buying, said Christine Holloway, solid waste administrator for the city.
Phoenix contracts with a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., which 
operates the city´s material recovery facility and markets the material. 
The city cannot cut back on funding to the recycling program because it 
must continue its curbside service, Holloway said.
"As long as we´re still collecting recycled material from blue barrels, you 
can´t cut back on the program, because the tonnage is still up on the front 
end," she said.
[ Home Page ]

Pat Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 Ft Myer Drive, Suite 702
Arlington, Virginia  22209
703.276.9800  fax 703.276.9587

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