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Making Recycling Easy: Understanding Curbside Pickup Pricing and Options

Last Updated: November 14, 2023

Ryan Maguire
Fact Checked By: Ryan Maguire
15 Year Expert in construction, landscape design, home improvement and maintenance.

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You'd be hard pressed to find anybody these days who would dispute the benefits of recycling. But, even though a person favors recycling in theory, in practice it's more difficult to sort paper, plastic, and metals and bring them to the local recycling center. One solution offered by many municipalities is a curbside recycling program. If your city does not offer one, you may alternatively pay a private company for recycling pick up services. Below you'll find more information about recycling services and how much they cost.

Recycling Pickup Service Cost #

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay approximately $15 to $35 per month for weekly or biweekly curbside recycling services. This fee typically includes one bin for paper products and another for metal and plastic. If you exceed this limit, you might pay an additional $2.50 to $7.50 per bin.

Some companies also offer what's known as single stream recycling, which allows (usually for an added fee) customers to put all recyclable materials into a single bin, with no sorting required. Here are some of the main factors influencing pricing:

  • Service frequency - Weekly pickups cost more than biweekly or monthly service.

  • Bin size - Larger 96+ gallon carts have higher rates than smaller bins.

  • Material types - More complex sorting/hauling for paper, plastic, metals, glass adds cost.

  • Region - Some areas simply have higher rates based on operation costs.

  • Extra services - Add-ons like bin cleaning, bulky item pickup add fees.

  • Contract terms - Longer 6, 12, 24 month contracts offer lower average pricing.

Many waste management companies bundle recycling with trash pickup. For stand-alone residential recycling pickup expect to pay $20 to $30 per month for basic single-stream service.

Recycling Pickup Cost Examples #

For my single family home, I pay $18 per month for weekly single-stream recycling pickup using my own bin provided by the city. This is bundled with trash service.

I have a large wheeled 96-gallon recycling cart picked up every other week at my suburban home for $24 per month. The waste company provides the bin. I'm on an annual contract.

My association sets up a dumpster just for recyclables once per month. We pay around $30 per home in the community for this monthly communal recycling service.

I live in an apartment building where building-wide recycling pickup is provided twice per week. From what I can tell, it costs around $15 per unit based on our monthly fees.

At my rural homestead I have to haul recyclables to the drop-off center myself. But to offset the cost, the county provides $100 per year in vouchers for recycling credits.

As you can see, prices vary mainly based on service frequency, bin size, and materials included. Stand-alone residential recycling pickup averages $20 to $40 monthly.

Reasons to Use a Recycling Pickup Service #

Inconvenience is one of the main reasons why many people don't recycle. Curbside recycling services encourage people to recycle because they make the process extremely simple. Recyclable materials are simply placed into a bin and rolled out to the curb for collection.

Pickup services lead to more people recycling, which, aside from helping to support more than 1 million American jobs, has numerous benefits for the environment, including:

  • Produce less waste: Around 60 percent of items that are thrown away are in fact recyclable.
  • Fewer landfills: Plastic can take 1,000 years to decompose; glass can remain in a landfill for up to 4,000 years. By recycling these materials, valuable space can be saved and put to better use.
  • Conservation: Paper, plastic, and metals can be used indefinitely if they are recycled. Producing them from raw materials is unnecessary and furthermore, causes harm to the environment through resource consumption and manufacturing emissions.
  • Reduce global warming: Recycling just half of your household waste can prevent nearly 2,500 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
  • Protect wildlife: Recycling is beneficial not only for humans, but millions of species of plants and animals that see their habitats destroyed by the harvesting of natural resources and pollution.