Recycling Market Bottoms Out

With the demand for consumer goods falling, the demand for recyclable materials to manufacture them is falling too. Trash is piling up across the country, and cities are canceling their recycling programs.
December 8, 2008, 11am PST | Tim Halbur
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"The downturn offers some insight into the forces behind the recycling boom of recent years. Environmentally conscious consumers have been able to pat themselves on the back and feel good about sorting their recycling and putting it on the curb. But most recycling programs have been driven as much by raw economics as by activism.

Cities and their contractors made recycling easy in part because there was money to be made. Businesses, too - like grocery chains and other retailers - have profited by recycling thousands of tons of materials like cardboard each month.

But the drop in prices has made the profits shrink, or even disappear, undermining one rationale for recycling programs and their costly infrastructure."

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Published on Sunday, December 7, 2008 in The New York Times
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