Bottom falls out of recycling market....
Recycling was never economical - municipalities spent more money on it than they received....but now that the bottom has fallen out of the market - will cities give up on recycling???
Norm Steenstra's budgeting worries mount with each new load of cardboard, aluminum cans and plastics jugs dumped at West Virginia's largest county recycling center.
Faced with a dramatic slump in the recycling market, the director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority has cut 20 of his 24 employees' work week to four days from five, shuttered six of the authority's drop-off stations and is urging residents to hoard their recyclables after informing municipalities with curbside recycling programs that the center will accept only paper until further notice.
"The market is just not there anymore," Steenstra said.
Just months after riding an incredible high, the recycling market has tanked almost in lockstep with the global economic meltdown. As consumer demand for autos, appliances and new homes dropped, so did the steel and pulp mills' demand for scrap, paper and other recyclables.
Cardboard that sold for about $135 a ton in September is now going for $35 a ton. Plastic bottles have fallen from 25 cents to 2 cents a pound. Aluminum cans dropped nearly half to about 40 cents a pound, and scrap metal tumbled from $525 a gross ton to about $100.
It's getting more difficult to find buyers in some markets, Streenstra said.