Putting it in Perspective
When we compare the cost of incident recycling to other common services at fire camps, it may be surprising to learn that port-a-potties and hand wash stations cost nearly three times as much as incident recycling when there are 1,000 people at a fire camp. On the Whitewater fire in 2017, the contracted incident recycling amounted to only .05% of the daily fire camp operating costs!
The Cost of Doing Nothing
Clearly, there is a cost for contracting incident recycling, however, there is also a cost for not recycling, especially if our community landfills reach their maximum capacity prematurely, since a new landfill is estimated to cost between $11.9 and $27.5 million in taxpayer dollars , plus the continued cost of hauling and tipping fees for solid waste disposal.
Recycling is not just about avoiding future infrastructure costs tied to new landfills (or reducing disposal fees), but it is also about jobs! EPA estimates that there are 1.57 jobs, $76,030 in wages, and $14,101 in tax revenues for every 1,000 tons of recyclables collected and recycled. In 2007, this amounted to 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in annual wages for the Unites States! In New Mexico alone, it is estimated that increasing the waste diversion rate from 20% to 34% would generate 9,318 new direct and indirect recycling and reuse jobs, of which 4,871 jobs would remain local. In the meantime, such increased recycling and reuse would drive down the state’s solid waste disposal costs by $12.5 million! 
 The in-house cost estimate was based on 2017 Interagency Business Management Handbook personnel salaries. Cost of Forest Service vehicles and fuel is not included.  EPA, 2014, Municipal Solid Waste Landfills  EPA, 2016, Recycling Economic Information Report,  ICF International, 2013, Adding 5,000 Jobs to New Mexico’s Economy: A Plan to Increase Jobs Using Recycling Based Pay-As-You-Throw and Economic Development Click "Read More" again to close this accordion.
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