How to Recycle Without Paying Fees

Many people don't recycle for one reason only: because their local trash pickup service charges a prohibitive fee to pick up household recyclables. This article explores some alternative ways to recycle without paying that high price.
Why Don't We Recycle More?
Household recycling is one of the easiest, most inexpensive things that individuals and families can do to help the environment, but a shocking number of people still do not recycle. Instead, they throw away all of their waste, from easily recyclable paper and cardboard to plastic containers and unused household items that will take hundreds of years to biodegrade. A simple understanding of the options available to households for recycling could help make this important, environmentally responsible task more widespread.
The Reasoning Behind the Recycling Fee
One reason that people choose not to recycle is that their local trash collection company charges a fee to pick up recyclables. Some companies charge $40 or more just to haul away simple household recyclables like cardboard boxes and plastic bottles. The reason for these seemingly exorbitant fees is (at least) twofold. First, there is a cost associated with sending a separate truck, with a separate driver, and hauling the waste to a separate facility. For waste management companies to offer recycling services profitably, they need to charge users a fee. The second reason is, paradoxically, that recycling is still somewhat uncommon. If trash collection companies could distribute the cost of recycling service among more customers, the fee would go down. However, the high cost prevents individuals from paying the fee, so the cost stays high.
If You Can, Consider Paying the Fee
Individuals and families who can afford to pay the household recycling fee are doing a service to the planet and their communities. After all, the more people there are who sign up for the recycling service, the more affordable the service will become. People who find the recycling fee to be prohibitively expensive, however, should consider other recycling options.
Visit a Recycling Center
Subscribing to your local recycling pickup service is not the only way to recycle. If you have been throwing away your recyclables because the fee is too high, know that there are other ways to recycle. For example, many municipalities and counties across the United States run recycling drop-off centers. These centers are places where you can take your recyclables and place them into large bins for recycling. Although using these centers involves a little effort, if you collect recycling and go once or twice a month, the benefit to the planet will far outweigh the small investment of time required. Additionally, some recycling centers offer incentives like tax credits to citizens who utilize them. Find out if your area has a recycling center, and consider making it a part of your monthly routine.
Team Up With a Neighbor
If you don't have access to a recycling center, there are still some options available for recycling. Rather than sending all your trash to a landfill or other garbage dump site, consider finding a neighbor who recycles and leaving your recycling with them. Many people who recycle are environmentally conscious enough that they are happy to add others' recyclables in with their own. After all, there is no extra cost to them, and both of you will feel better knowing that you are doing your best for the environment. You may even form a closer neighborly bond in the process.
Find a Recycling Bin in Your Community
Finally, if all else fails, think about tossing your recycling in a recycling bin at a local business. Many businesses recycle, and their bins can usually accommodate a few more items from a household or two. This option may take a little effort at first, but once you locate acceptable recycling bins, it's as easy as dropping your recyclables in. The planet will appreciate your efforts, and you can enjoy the sense of satisfaction you get from avoiding the high recycling fees and helping out the environment.
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