(p. B1) . . . recycling is a commodities business. The paper, metal, plastic and glass that recyclers collect, sort and sell competes against so-called virgin materials. And right now, many commodities are cheap.
Abundant oil is the latest headache for recyclers. New plastics are made from the byproducts of oil and gas production. So as plentiful fossil fuels saturate global markets, it has become cheaper for the makers of water bottles, yogurt containers and takeout boxes to simply buy new plastics. This, in turn, is dragging down the price of recycled materials, straining every part of the recycling industry.
In Montgomery, Ala., Infinitus Energy opened a $35 million recycling center in 2014. By last October, it was hemorrhaging (p. B5) money and shut down. Montgomery’s recyclables are now going to a landfill, and a once booming local business, United Plastic Recycling, filed for bankruptcy last year.
. . .
. . . as recyclers around the country face losses, they are passing their costs along to cities and counties. Increasingly, local governments are receiving nothing at all for their recyclables, or even having to pay companies to accept them.
Last year, the city government in Washington, D.C., paid Waste Management $1.37 million to accept the recyclables it collected from residents.
For the full story, see:
DAVID GELLES. “Losing a Profit Motive: A Skid in Oil Prices Pulls the Recycling Industry Down With It.” The New York Times (Sat., FEB. 13, 2016): B1 & B5.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date FEB. 12, 2016, and has the title “Skid in Oil Prices Pulls the Recycling Industry Down With It.”)