NEW BEDFORD - The City of New Bedford has filed a lawsuit against it's trash and recycling collector.

According to The Standard Times, the lawsuit filed in Bristol County Superior Court on Monday says that ABC Disposal Service has charged the City of New Bedford more than $189,000 above the contract since November. The suit aims to block the company from charging anything more than what's agreed in the contract.

ABC CEO Michael Camara says he warned five communities his company is contracted to remove recycling in that ABC may have to increase fees in order to remain financially viable. Camara blames rising recycling costs on China's new environmental policy, which has significantly restricted what kind and how much recycling materials the nation is willing to accept and process.

In court documents, the City points to the contract between New Bedford and ABC Disposal, where increased fees are only allowed in response to an "act of God," hurricane, tornado, war, similar events, or changes in federal, state, or local policy. The City says foreign policy is not covered under the contract.

Camara's warning in January to the communities of New Bedford, Fairhaven, Rochester, Mattapoisett, and Plymouth, stated that if ABC Disposal did not receive higher payments for recycling pick-up, the company may have to cease recycling collection services in those areas after June 30.

New Bedford City Solicitor Mikaela McDermott says the City has already spoken with other recycling collection companies, and has contingency plans in place should ABC Disposal refuse service.

The contract between ABC Disposal and New Bedford isn't set to expire until 2023.

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