October 20, 2023

The State of Recycling: Separating Myths From Facts

With changes on the way, some misinformation might have gotten mixed in with the facts about recycling in the City of Virginia Beach.

State of Recycling Recycling Realities

The City of Virginia Beach recycling program is in the news, and residents might have come across some misinformation. We want to provide the most complete and accurate information about recycling. And we want you to provide us with your opinions on the future recycling program in Virginia Beach. Learn more and complete the survey before Nov. 17 at SpeakUpVB.com/Recycling.

MYTH: Everything ends up in the landfill anyway, including what’s in recycling bins.

FACT: The City’s recycling contract specifically states that the contracted hauler (currently Tidewater Fibre, dba TFC Recycling) is to collect, sort and process recyclables for end-use markets, where they will be made into new products.

Items in the black trash carts are picked up by the City, and items in the blue recycling bins are picked up by the City’s recycling contractor (TFC Recycling). The City’s contract with the contracted hauler (TFC Recycling) states, “The contractor agrees not to landfill any processable recyclables.” TFC Recycling hauls the materials to the sorting facility and then sells them to reprocessors. It is very important to put only processable recyclables in the blue recycling bins.

MYTH: The City already has decided on the future recycling program, and my opinion does not matter.

FACT: Virginia Beach City leaders will use the results of the survey to help shape the future recycling program. Because the current contract with TFC Recycling expires in June 2024, some activities must start now to avoid any possible future disruption in service.

City residents are encouraged to provide their opinions on the future recycling program by completing the survey before Nov. 17. Results of the survey will be provided to City leaders to help them develop policies and make decisions.

The City plans to issue a Request for Proposal, or RFP, for contractor(s) that can collect and process recyclables. This is not because this option has already been selected, but because the process must start now to allow services to continue past the current contract. If another option is chosen instead, the RFP will not be awarded, or it can be canceled.

MYTH: Recycling costs are increasing only in Virginia Beach.

FACT: Global changes are affecting all recycling markets.

Changes in the global commodities market have led to increased costs in recycling operations. China accepted 80% of the world’s recycled materials until 2018, when it implemented stricter standards on materials coming into the country. This affected recycling worldwide with increased costs to collect, process and ship recyclables.

Find more information, including the City’s current contract with TFC Recycling, the recycling market and process, and take the survey at SpeakUpVB.com/Recycling.

Contact Information

Waste Management Customer Service

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