Recycling May Not Be Enough

Posted by Jabr Almarri

An unfortunate bit of news out of The Oregonian:

Most categories of recycled plastic, paper, newspaper and cardboard have also seen steep price declines as domestic and overseas demand plunged.

The price for bales of mixed paper has fallen by 90 percent since September, according to Official Board Markets, the paper industry’s pricing bible. Prices for plastic bags and other plastic “film” have dropped by two-thirds in less than a month.

What this means for us is that all the hard work that goes into recycling (sorting, looking at the labels, using different bins) may all be naught if the recycling industry (yes, industry) cannot survive this economic climate. This is a good example of people doing the right thing but still being negatively impacting by external circumstances.

This is especially troubling since wholesale efforts to increase recycling across the United States seem to be working. It owuld be a shame if the recycling campaigns worked...only to have no effect because no one wanted to use the recycled goods.

My suggestion is to keep recycling until we come out of this recession. The groundwork has clearly been laid for a culture of recycling and conservation; we just need to continue to influence others to do the same.