By: Amanda Pitts


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) -- The city of New Bedford is continuing to dispute with its disposal company now that it's enforcing recycling rules, leaving people's recycling on the curb when they see a problem.

The issue started last fall when the city refused to budge after ABC Disposal asked them to pay more for recycling, a total of $45,000 a month in addition to what they receive under their current contract.

The reason, according to the disposal company, is China. The largest collector of the world's recyclables stopped collecting in October. ABC Disposal says they're now paying three times more to handle recycling.

"That had an immediate ripple effect throughout the world and here in the United States, and particularly locally as well," said George Leontire, attorney for ABC Disposal.

ABC Disposal threatened to stop service in June, so the city took them to court. The judge ruled in the disposal company's favor, but instead of stopping service, they started saving money by rejecting recycling carts containing non-recyclable items.

"It's a little concerning obviously because you want the quality of recycled goods to be good. But they might be going a little too hard on it I think," said resident Danny Sallom.

One homeowner is looking at the silver lining, even after getting the "rejected" notice on his recycling.

"It gives you a wake-up call. You know what you gotta do, if you don't do it right, you're gonna have to take it out yourself, re-bag it and bring it to the landfill," said resident Steve Seeley.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said he doesn't want to terminate the city's contract with ABC Disposal, he just wants them to continue doing what they signed on to do.

"My job as Mayor is to protect the residents of the city and make sure they get the services that they expect, and that taxpayers get the deal that they signed," said Mitchell.

ABC Disposal said they're waiting for the court to decide if they can terminate their contract with New Bedford, as they can't afford to continue doing business under their current one. 

(c) WLNE-TV 2018