A prominent theme for the past several years has been the tough slog recyclers have had turning a profit due to the low prices recyclables are fetching. That issue has affected communities as well as haulers have pushed to revise contracts and come to better arrangements with cities that take into account these fluctuations.
The latest report on that front comes from the Boston area.
The Eagle-Tribune has the report:
A few years ago, scrap metal sold for about $250 a ton. Now Marblehead gets about a quarter of that, said Town Administrator John McGinn.
Its return on recycled paper has shriveled, too, from $10 a ton to $5 a ton.
"And if the quality is very poor, we only get $2.50," McGinn said.
Plunging oil prices and other factors have led to declines in how much buyers are willing to pay for recycled commodities.
That means communities that once made good money recycling are getting far less -- or even have to pay to get rid of it -- said Michael Durfor, executive director of Northeast Resource Recovery Association. The group works with cities and towns to develop recycling programs.
"When it costs more money to recycle something than to throw it away, that creates a big challenge for local governments," said Durfor. "The question is how long can many cities and towns afford to support that?"