It is the time of year when holiday packages will be arriving on people’s doorsteps
Today’s post is by Gayl Southard, Administrative Consultant at SafeSourcing.
It is the time of year when holiday packages will be arriving on people’s doorsteps across the country; however gift boxes this year might not become recycled gift boxes next year. Recycling is now a crisis in the US. China, America’s go-to nation for processing recyclables into boxes, is now requiring the cleanest, purist loads. This decision has left recyclers without a market causing recyclables to pile up and prices to fall. Waste Management, the trash hauling giant, reported it has become more expensive to recycle glass, plastic and paper. UPS reports that they will deliver 800 million packages this holiday season, an increase from 762 million in 2017. FedEx will add another 400 million, if they match last year’s total.
After years of conditioning Americans to throw all of their reusable containers and papers into a recycle bin, cities across the US are charging higher collection fees, as well as eliminating certain items they will not pick up. Nearly 35% of the nation’s waste is diverted to recycling from the solid waste stream. That accounts for millions of tons of material that can be repurposed, saving energy and time rather than making product from scratch. Mixed paper was worth $85 to $95 a ton to recyclers a year ago. Today the price has dropped to $6.50 to $8.50. Lesser-quality plastics were worth $45 a ton. Now it costs $35 to get it recycled. Cardboard prices fallen too.
There are about 100 Waste Management recycling processing facilities in the US. The cost of processing recyclables was $85 a ton, now sorted loads only bring in $65 a ton. Instead of receiving a check for recyclables, some cities are being asked to pay to have them removed.
Waste Management reported that 25% of recycled material is contaminated. Junk such as dead batteries, hoses, broken lawn furniture, plastic grocery bags, greased-stained pizza boxes, are some of the items that should not be put into recycle bins.
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