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There is a thread on the West Bench Facebook group asking why the RDOS does not recycle everything.

The short answer: economics.

Obviously, the RDOS  does not recycle.  Instead, it relies on private sector partners to collect, sort, recycle and market waste from RDOS residents. The role of the RDOS is to collect taxes and fees from residents to subsidize the process because, as you are hopefully aware, recycling is a losing business proposition.  It costs way more to collect/sort/recycle/sell than the recycled material is worth.  And the market for recycled material fluctuates over time. So we constantly have to reassess what makes sense to recycle and what does not.

An example of this is glass: very expensive to clean and recycle but effectively worthless as a recycled product.  For this reason, we no longer recycle glass.  This is a pure business decision with virtually no meaningful environmental downside.  Plastic film (shopping bags, etc.) are another problem.  Very costly to deal with but worth almost nothing (so little plastic, after all).  Unlike glass, however, we recycle plastic film because people demand it.  We could re-bury the plastic bags deep in the ground--which is where they came from--but the bags have a nasty habit of escaping this fate and blowing around the landfill.  Same with styrofoam. 

But mixing plastic film with other plastics creates problems for our recycling contractors, as noted above. And contractors with problems come back and ask for more money. That is why we ask you to sort it yourself and be sure not to mix different recycling streams.

Some ask: "It is all too confusing. Why don't recycling employees sort through our trash for us?"  Well, it is pretty clear that we have to pay those people using your tax dollars and garbage fees.  My guess is most people would rather memorize a few rules and deal with the waste while it is in their hand.  But I could be wrong.  Do we need a more concierge-type recycling arrangement in Area F?

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