The price of commodities isn’t getting any higher, and the waste and recycling industry is still feeling the blow from the low costs. Joe Garbarino, a trash worker in California, is one of the people suffering from the low cost of commodities.
Garbarino is experiencing the very real problem of selling recycled materials back into the world. He states that China, Taiwan and Hong Kong used to buy these materials, but now all that business is going away because it’s often cheaper to buy virgin materials.
KPIX 5 has the details:
For 60 years, Joe Garbarino has been moving Marin’s trash, and for many of those years he could do it at a healthy profit. Not any more. Despite the fact that he recycles seventy-five percent of everything that comes in to his facility, he’s getting crushed by the weight of cheap commodity prices. “We want to keep doing the job, and prevent it from going to the landfill, but by the same token we can’t keep doing it and not make a buck at it,” says Garbarino, who started working as a garbage man in 1948.
It’s been a little while since recycling became a way of life in California. Back then, part of the promise was that saving the planet also made economic sense, that the time, energy, and effort spent collecting recyclable waste would be worth it, because someone, somewhere, would want to buy it. For many years, that economy has worked enough to keep the cans and bottles moving.