Baton Rouge trash collection fees to increase $1 a month; curbside recycling to continue collecting glass products _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Glass is separated with bits of paper, metal and other materials in this pile at the Progress Recycling plant on Tom Drive.

Keep on recycling those beer bottles, because the Metro Council approved a renewal of curbside recycling and garbage pickup that will retain glass recycling, despite cost increases that have caused many other cities across the country to drop the service.

But residents will likely see an increase in trash collection bills beginning in 2016, as monthly payments are raised from $19 to $20.

The extra buck a month covers the 25-cent increase that Progressive, the firm that handles curbside recycling, is charging to continue glass collection. The fee hike will also include additional consumer cost increases for garbage collection and a slight increase for the price of maintaining the garbage bins, many almost 10 years old, that sit outside people’s homes.

In total, about 60 percent of parish households participate in the recycling program, which provides curbside pickup for aluminum, plastic, cardboard and glass products.

Recycling of glass was nearly cut from the city-parish’s services. Progressive told the city-parish it was cost-prohibitive because there’s low demand and the glass is expensive to process. They initially quoted a $735,000 increase to keep it in the program, which would have translated to 49 cents per month, per household.

But the company later agreed to $400,000 per year, which they say will be invested in improved machinery to sort the glass products and transportation costs to send the heavy products to companies in the northern part of the state.

For the past 10 years, the city-parish has maintained the same contracts with Progressive for recycling and with Republic Services of Baton Rouge for garbage collection. The council voted to extend the contracts until 2018.

William Daniel, chief administrative officer to mayor-president Kip Holden, said this gives them time to evaluate services and put them out to bid, so new companies can be selected under the next mayor’s administration and the next Metro Council.