How Much Does a Contaminated Recycling Bin Cost?

First, let’s look at why recycling contamination matters. When too many dirty items—or too many of the wrong items—get into a recycling bin, the entire load may need to be thrown away.

That’s because recycling companies will not buy a contaminated load from Lake County. Sometimes our Recycling Center staff checks a load, thinks it is fine, and takes it to Denver to sell it. When they arrive at the Denver processing plant, they learn that the load has too many contaminated items hidden inside. Then the load must be thrown away—and the processing charges Lake County a fee.

The cost to gather recyclables from Lake County’s three recycling sites, bale them, drive them to Denver, and pay a fee comes to approximately $1,000 per load.

When you recycle with care, you’re saving the county money, time, and effort, supporting the sustainability of our recycling program. As important, you’re also helping ensure that all our recyclables get recycled.

For more information, please explore the recycling tips on, or ask a member of the Recycling Center team at the Lake County Landfill. Thank you for recycling with care!