By WARREN RICHARDSON
SARASOTA — Expect to pay more beginning in October when you haul that recycling cart out to the curb in unincorporated Sarasota County if county commissioners approve proposed rate changes.
And, it’s likely you’ll only have one cart instead of two.
The changes are coming, especially in the rates residents pay to recycle, due to a dramatic flip-flop in the recycling market, according to Mike Mylett, interim director of Sarasota County Public Utilities.
Those changes have occurred since 2017, Mylett told county commissioners during their budget workshops last month.
Countries in the Far East, like China and Malaysia, once eager to accept American recycled trash, are no longer willing to do so, upending what used to be a profitable enterprise for the county.
“It’s flipped from being a revenue generator to a loss leader,” Mylett told commissioners. “We need an increase in fees to accommodate the additional fees the county is incurring.”
In 2017, Mylett said, the county was paying $52 per ton to process recyclables for which they received an average of $93 per ton when sold. Now, the county pays $177 per ton for processing but receives only $58 per ton when the materials are sold.
Under the three-year schedule Mylett and his staff have worked out, the owner of a single-family home would pay $186.59 for the 2020 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, up from the current rate of $159.48 per year.
Over the following two years, the rate would continue to increase, going to $218.31 in 2021, and $233.59 in 2022.
Owners of condominium units would also see an increase.
Their rate would increase from $134.94 currently to $157.88 beginning Oct. 1, then increasing to $184.72 for 2021, and $197.65 in 2022.
No date has been set for commissioners to consider the new rates.
The other change to the county’s recycling program proposed by staff is going to single-stream recycling, that’s becoming popular across the country.
Under this system, which the city of Sarasota currently uses, all recycling materials are placed in a single cart instead of separating items as residents currently do.
Mylett expects to come back to commissioners in August with a request to approve a contract with Single Stream Recyclers LLC of Sarasota to provide recycling services to the county.
If commissioners approve the contract then, residents would receive new 65-gallon recycling carts in early 2020.