Waste Management stockpiles recyclables, waits out economy

Mounds of recyclables have been piling up in U.S. warehouses and yards, as widely reported in the national media, and the story is no different in Reno.

The recycling market has collapsed along with the financial markets, making for a decrease in demand in recycled materials, such as plastic, metals, paper and cardboard.

According to City of Reno environmental services administrator Jason Geddes, Waste Management reported in mid-December that it is stockpiling recyclables “until the market turns,” and is not sending them to a landfill. “We don’t anticipate any cut backs in recycling and are pushing forward to expand recycling,” said Geddes this week.

Despite the fact that recyclables were fetching record high prices as recent as October, newsprint is getting less than $60 a ton, compared to its previous $160, while tin has dropped from $25 per pound to $5, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Bruce Parker, president of the SWMA, told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, “And plastics, you cannot even give them away.”

Part of the collapse is due to decreased demand from China and India, who were buying recyclables and turning them into goods to sell back to the United States, reports the Telegraph.

For a good primer on what can be recycled in Reno—both curbside and where you can take the rest—the City of Reno released its latest recycling guide, which you can find at www.cityofreno.com/Index.aspx?page=867. It’s also in your new phone book.