China, once the single-largest buyer for U.S. recyclables, banned the import of two dozen types of “foreign waste” and imposed strict quality standards on the recyclables it’ll accept. Nationwide, municipalities are facing higher costs and being forced to find stopgap solutions, from incinerators to landfills, for recyclables that have nowhere else to go...Meanwhile, Canadian forests are still being harvested for American toilet paper.
Mixed paper and plastic exports to China plunged more than 90 percent between January 2017 and January 2018, according to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. International Trade Commission. As the industry scrambled to find new buyers, prices went through the floor. Anne Germain, Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs at the National Waste and Recycling Association, an industry trade group, told me that mixed paper went from selling for about $100 a ton to a high of about $3 a ton...
As Scott McGrath, Environmental Planning Director at the City of Philadelphia Streets Department explained, the city was recently making good money selling its recyclables to processors, with the price peaking at $67 a ton in 2012. By January 2018, Philly was paying its contractor, Republic Services, $20 a ton to continue taking recycling. By the summer, that figure had jumped to $40 a ton. When the city started trying to renegotiate its contract, which expired in September, Republic Services asked for $170 a ton to keep recycling.
07 March 2019
Recycling is breaking down
It appears there are diminishing choices of where to recycle TO...