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ANACORTES — The city of Anacortes is asking residents to stop recycling items such as milk cartons, juice cartons and frozen food boxes, and instead throw them in the garbage.

The City Council voted 6-1 on Monday night to amend its contract with Waste Management, a private company that provides recycling services citywide, and to approve a new recyclables list.

Michelle Metzler, public sector manager for Waste Management, said the company is responding to changes in the worldwide recycling market.

“The materials we are proposing removing from the list are garbage because there are not viable recycling markets for them,” she said.

Under the city’s amended contract, the following items are no longer recyclable: frozen food boxes, juice boxes, milk, juice and ice cream cartons; aseptic containers for soup, broth, soy milk and almond milk; paper hot or cold cups; metal including empty aerosol cans, scrap metal and metal appliances; and plastic cups, plant pots and five-gallon buckets.

Metzler said the company will help educate residents on the changes through mailers and “oops” stickers that recycling truck drivers can place on curbside carts when they see containers that are no longer accepted.

She added that residents also need to make sure they wash containers before recycling them.

Resident Doug Thurber commented that with fewer items being accepted as recycling some households may find it more difficult to fit all their trash into a 21-gallon garbage can, and that the city should remove the extra $7.50 charge for the larger 32-gallon cans.

Waste Management also asked the City Council for a 10% rate increase for its recycling service, citing the falling commodity values of recycled items worldwide and the increased costs to process them. For residents, the increase would amount to an extra 95 cents per month, or about $12 a year.

Council members voted Monday to postpone indefinitely the proposed rate increase.

“For me the case hasn’t been made (for a rate increase),” Councilman Matt Miller said.

The city’s 10-year contract with Waste Management expires in 2025.

— Reporter Jacqueline Allison: jallison@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2145, Twitter: @Jacqueline_SVH

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