2008 Recycling Markets Strained

With a sluggish commodities market, materials are not moving as quickly as they were even a year ago. At that time, the value of plastic, paper, metal and cardboard was high so recyclers were creative in finding new markets for odd materials. Unfortunately,recyclers are tightening their belts just like the rest of us. The Master Recycler Plastics Roundups have been postponed and local depots are finding they need to reduce some of the materials they can accept. Curbside materials have more consistent markets and were chosen because they can weather these types of ups and downs.

Now Master Recyclers are left asking “What should I tell people?” Here are a few key points:

  • Reduce and reuse is more important then ever! The less stuff to glut the system, the better.
  • Buy recycled content material. Keep those markets alive.
  • Encourage people to be patient and not have the same expectations from depots. They may find materials that were accepted one week, may not be accepted the next. It’s best if people can find space to hold on to those materials a little bit longer until the recycling markets pick back up again.
  • Keep using the roll carts at home. It is more important then ever that people only put what they are supposed to in their roll carts. Improper preparation costs the overburdened system money and reduces the market value of good products.
  • Keep the faith in recycling. It is still the right thing to do. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions,  creates jobs, and saves money and energy. All things we need in an economy that can use a jump start.

People in the metro area seem to understand the situation. When the Plastics Roundups postponement was announced, we received positive feedback acknowledging the Master Recyclers and Agri-plas recycling efforts. We all wish the best for the future of recycling markets and the families affected by the loss of recycling jobs.