Salem officials find turbulent recycling market pinching local garbage haulers

10 Nov 2018

From the Salem Reporter, by Troy Brynelson

A proposed hike in garbage bills will get a public hearing at Salem City Council next week. Staff reports released Thursday suggest the six garbage hauling companies are struggling in 2018.

Art Kuenzi played a sort of garbage man’s roulette Thursday morning. Every blue recycling bin on Southeast 45th Avenue could be good or bad.

Good meant flipping open a bin to find cardboard, newspaper or dry plastic milk jugs. Bad bins held soggy fast-food cups or cheap plastic packaging.

“I’m seeing an attempt to improve what’s put into the mixed recycling carts,” the 62-year-old vice president of Suburban Garbage Services said. “Two or three months ago, I’d see carts with hair, diapers, you name it. You can tell they’re making an attempt.”

Garbage haulers like Suburban Garbage Services say they are working hard to better inform people about what can or can’t be recycled, but even better practices don’t appear to be enough.