The Cost of Getting Rid of Waste in Teton County

In Recycling News, Waste & Recycling Press Release

People have been very interested to learn more about the cost associated with operating the waste management system and services in Teton County.

When facts do not reach everyone clearly, assumptions can be drawn.

Addressing all rumors and misconceptions in a written piece is nearly impossible, but we have selected a few key topics to provide more clarity to residents’ costs…and hopefully, initiate a few more questions.

A key misconception about waste management in Teton County Idaho is the feeling that you are paying for the same waste management service more than once – through County taxes, tipping fees and curbside service cost. Below is a brief overview of the different costs and its use.

  • Solid Waste Fee (in your County Property Taxes) –These monies pay for having the physical assets of the Teton County Transfer Station. The funds are used by Teton County to keep the doors of the transfer station open, to pay for the costs of ownership of the Transfer Station Property, its buildings, and future infrastructure planning. Owning any property has cost, which typically includes general property maintenance, equipment upgrades, labor necessary to receive materials, and labor for administration and supervising the facility. This fee also covers a pretty big legacy issue of managing and monitoring the closure of the old Teton County landfill.
  • Tipping Fees (County) – This is the fee paid when crossing the scales at the Transfer Station. These fees cover costs to process the waste as it comes across the scales such as labor, fuel, repairs and maintenance of equipment as well as the transportation to and disposal at the Circular Butte Landfill (which is ~87-miles away!). FYI – this is include within curbside customers costs.
  • Curbside Service (RAD) rates are associated with the convenience of curbside collection and include the tipping fees. Like any hauling company, curbside service requires trucks, labor, fuel, maintenance, insurance and all the typical overhead of running a small business such as administration and customer service. A common question heard – “Why isn’t recycling collection free? Don’t you get paid for recyclable materials?” – The revenue from selling the recyclable materials does not currently cover the costs of providing the operation of trucks and trailers coming to each resident’s home. The valley’s population is spread out and, for the most part, has a rural dirt road system, therefore making curbside service expensive.

Insight to RAD

The only revenue recieved by RAD is from subscribers’ service rates. (*RAD does NOT receive any revenue from the local governments) The reality is, RAD’s operational overhead include several costs paid to Teton County:

  • $76/ton tipping fee upon delivery for household landfill-bound waste
  • $210/ton upon delivery of Construction and Demolition waste
  • $10/ton in impact fees for landfill-bound waste
  • $15/ton* to deliver recyclable materials

*You may be asking why is there a tipping fee on recycling? Because the revenue from selling the recyclables materials does not cover all of the processing costs incurred to prepare it for a commodity buyer. However, even with these costs, revenue from recycling makes recycling 75% less expensive than landfilling.

Waste management in Teton County ID is a growing operation since recycling represents such a significant economic opportunity (in operational cost-savings, not profit). Currently, over half of the material being land-filled could potentially be recycled or diverted. In addition to the fact that recycling is 75% less expensive than land-filling, recycling operations ALSO create 5-times more local year-round, living-wage jobs. Diversion empowers our community economically by minimizing our dependence on something we have little control over such as tipping costs at Circular Butte Landfill. It is beneficial to use the cost-savings associated with recycling to employ our residents and re-invest that money back into our local economy.

If you have any other questions about waste/recycling costs, please feel free to give RAD Curbside a call at 208.220.7721 or the Teton County Transfer Station at 208.354.3442.

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