Thursday, May 07, 2009

UK's & US's Paper Recycling May End Up In Landfill Afterall...

The UK's and US's easy paper recycling solution of shipping much of it to China appears to be coming to an end sparking fears, with some evidence, that much of the paper collected for recycling will end up in landfill after all reports Ethical Corporation: "Export orders to China are down as cash-strapped consumers and businesses in the west buy less. Consequently, Chinese manufacturers are reducing their output or going to the wall as the orders slow. Less packaging is needed. Prices for recycled paper peaked in August 2008 and have since dropped by 50-70%. The days of paper that can be recycled fetching $100 a tonne are gone (and the one time market peak of $200 a distant memory). Prices are down to as low as $28 a tonne for mixed paper, $40 for newspaper and $35 a tonne for corrugated boxes.

This means prices are falling below what it costs to collect and ship the waste paper from the west. At present, only the paper collected near port towns and not requiring the additional cross-country trucking is economical … and then only just. This means targets for recycling set by the industry and government in Europe and the US are becoming harder to meet... Unable to sell it or find local recyclers, there is a risk that many western collectors of waste will end up tipping it into landfills. That is reportedly already happening, sparking anger among environmentally conscious western consumers who diligently sift their waste in the hope they are helping to protect the environment... The US has the same problem. California was a major shipper of waste paper, as well as card, metal and other products to China, but demand, and consequently prices, are significantly down. California’s waste collectors cannot sell their waste and cannot afford to warehouse it, so they are using landfills."

Perhaps what we need are some recycling facilities at home, rather like all the ones we've been shutting down recently perhaps...?

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