Thursday, 4 March 2010

Better Times Mean Better Times for Recyclers, Too: Demand Is Higher Due to Economic Upturn

Last year was a disaster economically for a lot of people, among them those who run recycling services and companies. The bottom dropped out of the market for recycled waste in the Autumn 2008, with the price falling from $115 to $35 a ton. Prices remained low all last year, but, Louis-Gilles Francoeur reported in Wednesday's Le Devoir, things are looking up.

According to Ginette Bureau of Recyc-Québec , the price is now up to $85 a ton, which is enough to make the difference between survival or failure. During the several long months when recyclable waste piled up, none was thrown away by the recycling companies, and none of them went broke. The Quebec government helped out with finding places to store the collected waste, and some companies were able re-negociate contracts with municipalities in order to cut costs. Now the province is providing funds to upgrade sorting facilities, with the hope that better sorting will produce more valuable waste and better prices.

That's all to the good, but I'm wondering if there has been an actual decline in the amount of post-consumer waste in recent months. If people buy less, they have fewer cardboard boxes etc. And certainly there has been a sea change around here when it comes to plastic shopping bags. The provincial agency which sells beer, wine and spirits hasn't had them for more than a year, and several of the supermarket chains are charging 5 cents a bag.

Reminds me: I must do a really big grocery shopping today, so I'll have to dig out all my canvas bags. Last time I didn't have enough.

No comments: