The cost of being green has been going up — at least when it comes to recycling.
China — traditionally a top buyer of mixed paper, plastics and other recyclable trash that U.S. consumers toss into their recycling bins — plans to severely restrict imports of some of those commodities beginning in 2018 as part of an effort to clean up its environment.
The decision has been roiling international markets for recyclables and driving down prices since it was announced during the summer, rendering recycling programs — such as Austin’s — less economical by reducing revenue from sales of the materials.
Austin city officials say they have no plans to increase recycling fees paid by residents, at least in the short term, or to cut back on the city’s curbside recycling effort, although they acknowledge costs have been climbing as a result of the issue.
“We obviously have concerns, but we’re not there yet,” said Richard McHale, assistant director of Austin Resource Recovery.