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As Recycling Costs Go Up In Western Mass., 'The State Has A Responsibility To Step In'

A scene at a Vermont waste facility.
Elodie Reed
A scene at a Vermont waste facility.

Many communities in western Massachusetts are feeling the pinch when it comes to the increased costs of recycling. 

China and other countires are accepting far fewer recyclables. According to The Boston Globe, that means it's becoming more expensive for cities and towns in western Mass. to dispose of these items.

"For many communities, it will increase from paying nothing to as much as $150 on average over a several-year-contract per ton — which for many communities is a huge sum, when they often have to scrounge to find enough funding every budget season for their typical costs," said Globe environment reporter David Abel.

Abel also said a state-owned recycling facility in Springfield said it can't go any lower with what it charges cities and towns. 

Panelist Kristin Palpini said the state should be doing more.

"I think the state has a responsibility to step in here," Palpini said. "Because everybody's facing it. It's all going to hit kind of at once over the next couple of years as everybody's renegotiating their contracts. We've got towns that were getting $12 to $70 per ton of recyclables that are now paying hundreds of dollars, and we all know things are tight."

There's also word that if some of the larger cities in the area split off and find their own recycling deals elsewhere, that could further raise prices for the rest.

Panelist Ron Chimelis called the problem "uncharted territory."

"It's a type of an issue that maybe these cities could've foreseen, but didn't really want to foresee it," Chimelis said. "It's not a really open, competitive industry, either, so I agree that the state, at some point soon, is going to have to do something to bring some ease to this burden."

It was a mixed bag this week when it came to Massachusetts casino gambling revenue in December. Encore Boston Harbor Casino posted its best month since opening last June. But the news was not nearly as positive for MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino, each of which had their lowest months yet

This week marked the 10-year anniversary of the suicide of Phoebe Prince. In a case that received national attention, the South Hadley, Massachusetts, high school student died by suicide after months of bullying. Some see Prince's death as a turning point in how bullying was dealt with

We wrap up the week with the Boston Red Sox looking for a new manager. Alex Cora and the team "parted ways" after Cora's involvement in Major League Baseball's sign-stealing scandal came to light. 


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