© 2024 WHRO Public Media
5200 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk VA 23508
757.889.9400 | info@whro.org
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Norfolk’s recycling contract ends soon, and officials want community input

Bales of recycled material at TFC Recycling’s plant in Chesapeake. (Photo by Katherine Hafner)
Bales of recycled material at TFC Recycling’s plant in Chesapeake. (Photo by Katherine Hafner)

Norfolk wants to know how much residents know and care about its curbside recycling program.

The city’s current contract with Chesapeake-based TFC Recycling expires in July.

City leaders now say they want “input and suggestions for improving and managing future recycling programs and services,” according to a news release.

Virginia Beach is also considering what to do once its contract with TFC ends this summer. The city put out a survey late last year, but results have not yet been posted.

Many Hampton Roads cities have been uncertain with next steps on recycling after seeing skyrocketing costs tied to international market changes starting in 2018. 

That’s when China stopped accepting most of the recycled materials exported by the U.S. due to stricter quality standards.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Virginia Beach officials said recently in a presentation to City Council.

In 2019, Norfolk held a similar survey as it considered ditching its curbside program. At the time, TFC planned to terminate its contract with the city, citing the market upheaval, but ultimately worked out a new agreement after the survey showed citizens’ overwhelming support for the program.

Chesapeake ended its curbside service in 2022 to save $2 million, opting instead for a few public drop-off locations.

Norfolk’s new survey asks residents to describe their current use of the program, whether they know the limited items that are accepted in the blue bins and how important it is for them to keep a curbside program with potential fee increases.

The city says feedback “will help inform a policy decision” and assist the city manager to determine recycling funding in the upcoming budget proposal.

The survey at  www.norfolk.gov/RecyclingSurvey is open until Feb. 9. 

Katherine is WHRO’s climate and environment reporter. She came to WHRO from the Virginian-Pilot in 2022. Katherine is a California native who now lives in Norfolk and welcomes book recommendations, fun science facts and of course interesting environmental news.

The world changes fast.

Keep up with daily local news from WHRO. Get local news every weekday in your inbox.

Sign-up here.