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 user 2008-12-10 at 1:02:34 pm Views: 94
  • #20666
    As prices tumble, recycling stumbles
    Inc. paid the Columbus suburb more than $200,000 a year for newspapers
    that residents put in their curbside recycling bins.That was before the
    global economic downturn torpedoed prices for recyclables. Glass
    bottles, metal cans, cardboard, office paper and plastics are worth a
    fraction of what recyclers were paid just weeks ago.The value of
    newspaper was hit particularly hard, dropping from $95 a ton in
    September to $5 a ton last week. A ton of cardboard, which used to
    fetch $105, now is worth $22.50.”This is the steepest one-month drop in
    prices we’ve seen,” said David Schwendeman, Rumpke’s recycling
    marketing manager.

    As recyclers cut staff members and search for
    new buyers, officials worry that more recyclable materials might end up
    in landfills. Catherine Armstrong, Upper Arlington’s finance director,
    said the city might have to renegotiate its garbage contract if prices
    don’t rebound.”The recycling revenue helps offset the (contract’s)
    cost,” Armstrong said.The city’s garbage hauler, Inland Service Corp.,
    will be paid $2 million next year to collect trash and
    recyclables.Americans recycled a record 33.4 percent of their garbage
    in 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says. In 1965, people
    recycled 6.2 percent of their trash.

    Through October, the Solid
    Waste Authority of Central Ohio collected 10,502 tons of recyclable
    materials at 200 Franklin County drop-off centers. That puts SWACO on
    pace to surpass the 10,755 tons collected in 2007.Prices plummeted
    after the global recession sank orders for recycled goods, particularly
    from Chinese factories. China was a major buyer, said Ed Skernolis,
    acting director of the National Recycling Coalition.”When people stop
    buying things, like televisions, you don’t need as many boxes to put
    them in, and you don’t have to recycle paper to make those boxes,”
    Skernolis said. “It’s that simple.”

    That has recyclers struggling to make ends meet.
    paper (recycler) needs about $60 to $70 a ton just to handle it,” said
    Robert Boulanger, publisher of, which tracks
    demand for recycled commodities.Schwendeman said Rumpke customers won’t
    see any changes because the company has several long-term contracts
    with buyers.Waste Alternatives, a Mount Vernon plastics recycler,
    stopped using temporary workers, cutting 29 positions from its
    50-person work force.”It’s not a jolly business to be in right now,”
    said Steve Shew, a Waste Alternatives co-owner.

    John Remy, a
    SWACO spokesman, said businesses that once sold waste paper and other
    materials to recyclers might begin dumping them in the Franklin County
    landfill.”I would hope that people would continue to recycle because
    it’s the right thing to do,” Remy said.Skernolis said recyclers have to
    hold on until the recession ends.”It’s important to sustain what we
    have,” he said. “This market is going to recover, and we need to be
    able to satisfy the demand.