ITHACA, N.Y. — Yard waste will no longer be free of charge for permit holders when dropping it off at the Tompkins County Recycling Center, according to a release Tuesday.

A representative at the TCRC clarified on Tuesday afternoon that the fee is being imposed due to falling revenues from the sale of other recyclable commodities.

The department has introduced an $8 coupon as an additional option for the disposal of yard waste, good for one vehicle-load.

“The reason for the decision to charge for yard waste is that we can no longer depend on recycling revenues to subsidize the actual cost of yard waste recycling ($90/ton),” Director of Recycling and Materials Management Barb Eckstrom told the Ithaca Voice in an email Tuesday. “The punch cards and coupons provide additional options for residents to pay for yard waste in addition to the gate fee. The coupon is for residents that haul yard waste on a tarp instead of bags and cans.”

This means that a residential vehicle would need to purchase a $20 permit to use the facility annually and would then need to purchase one of the three new yard waste disposal options on top of that.

Eckstrom pointed out that the fee structure was part of the department’s budget passed by the county and that information sessions were held before plans were finalized. She said it was unclear how much revenue would be generated by the change and that it would become clearer in the spring, once residents begin hauling in yard waste.

“This is our first year of charging these fees. It is hard to say how much of this material we will be receiving and what revenues we will receive. Many City residents will probably take advantage of the curbside charge of $1.50 per bag,” Eckstrom said.

Earlier –

ITHACA, N.Y. — Tompkins County Recycling and Materials Management has received feedback from residents that there should be more payment options for yard waste recycling. The Department has listened, and is now adding a Yard Waste Coupon that will allow users of the facility to pay for vehicle loads of yard waste.

Fee increases for some materials like yard waste were necessitated by a decrease in revenues from the sale of recyclable materials.

Users of the facility can pay for yard waste in one of three ways:

Yard Waste Punch Card — $12 for 6 punches

Each punch is good for one 35 pound bag or can of yard waste.
Residential users only.
Available from the Recycling and Materials Management Office and the Weigh Station.

Yard Waste Coupon — $8 per coupon

Each coupon is good for one vehicle load of yard waste.
Residential cars, SUVs, and trucks only. No trailers or altered loads.
Available from the Recycling and Materials Management Office and the Weigh Station.

Yard Waste by Weight — $90 per ton, $15 minimum

For commercial loads or residents with large quantities of yard waste.
Stop at the Weigh Station.

Please note that a permit is required for residents to drop off yard waste. For more information, visit


Tompkins Recycling and Materials Management

(607) 273-6632

This story was originally run as a community announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 11, before it became clear readers had larger questions about the change. The story has been updated to include a clarification from the Tompkins County Director of Recycling and Materials Management.