Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another victim of the economy . . . recycling

More evidence of the down turn in the economy is demonstrated by the decreased demand for packaging made from recycled materials.

The past couple of years have been very, very good to waste paper recycling exporters. The demand from Asia has been huge. Speaking in terms of volume, waste paper is one of our top exports. Unfortunately, over the last three months, the recycling industry has slowed due to the decline in consumer spending. Bales and bales of abandoned cardboard and newsprint just sit in Chinese ports. Material that was previously selling for $150 a ton was suddenly selling for $20. Recycling exporters were stunned.

The question then becomes – If China doesn’t want our recycling anymore, what happens to it? It may just end up in a landfill. Recycling (like most things) is based on an economic need. The sad fact is that no one is going to recycle if there is no money in it. Local recycling efforts are feasible because is it easier and cheaper to coordinate; however, not all recycling efforts are that simple. Whatever happened to reduce, reuse, recycle?

From NPR: Recycling Industry Slows as Consumers Shop Less

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