Curbside recycling fee doubles for Indianapolis Republic Services customers


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Alexis Dobrasz considers herself an environmentally conscious mother of four boys.

"Bottles, cans, anything," said Dobrasz, standing in her front yard on the south side of Indianapolis. "If people are throwing away, I've actually been known to dig through the trash."

Her family pays for Republic Services curbside recycling pick up every other Thursday. She received a letter Thursday explaining that the cost of the service is more than doubling to $8.25 a month. That is the maximum allowed by the contract with the city of Indianapolis.

"I was angry at first," said Dobrasz. "I'm still a little upset about it because I feel like you're doing the right thing. The fact that we have to pay for it anyway seems a little ludicrous to me. However, I'm going to pay it because it's still the right thing and overall, for the whole year, it's not that bad."

The rate increase is driven by China's decision to ban the import of contaminated recycling.

Waste companies like Republic are scrambling to find places to accept the materials.

"The margins on recycled materials right now are extremely low because of the situation in China, so recycling is not really a money-making industry," said Allyson Mitchell, Indiana Recycling Coalition Executive Director. "That's why you're seeing the need for rate increases."

Republic Services denied our interview request, but issued this statement:

“The existing contract with the city states a rate of $99/year and we are going to be billing accordingly starting August 1."

Customers can drop the service and return the container.

"That's an individual household decision to make if you care deeply about recycling and it's important to you,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell is concerned residents may stop recycling altogether.

She says if they opt out of the curbside program, they can take the same materials to public drop off sites around the city.