Last year, when China placed restrictions on the amount and type of recycled material it would import, the global recycling market took a hit. Because China was a significant buyer of Washington’s recyclables, waste management programs around the state also are suffering.

In response to the challenges facing its curbside recycling program, Tacoma recently proposed four possible changes. The city’s Solid Waste Management is now seeking community feedback on those proposals.

“We’ve been actively studying, analyzing and evaluating the impacts China’s actions would have on our local recycling programs. We had hoped that the markets would rebound faster, yet the impacts are resulting in a loss of recycling revenue and an increase in cost to the utility to get recyclables to market,” said Solid Waste Management Division Manager Lewis Griffith.

Tacoma’s four proposals are: limited recycling, which would end the city’s curbside recycling program and increase the monthly rate by about $1.33 per customer to pay for additional items taken to the landfill; partial curbside recycling, which would increase the monthly rate by $2.40 and eliminate curbside glass recycling; maintaining full curbside recycling, which would increase the monthly rate by $3 and remove problem items from the recycling list; and maintaining full curbside recycling with additional resources, which would increase the monthly rate by $4, remove problem items, and provide for recycling education and satellite recycling stations.

Residents of Tacoma are encouraged to take a survey, available here, in order to comment on the possible changes to the recycling program.