Recycling Profits Decreasing with the Economy

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Chances are if you don't recycle with the city you are helping pay for those that do. Now falling prices for recycled goods means less funding for many recycling programs So what does that mean for you?

Steel, plastic and paper are as good as gold for Steven Foss of Grand Junction curbside recycling indefinitely incorporated. "We're dealing with commodities here we are not dealing with trash," says Foss. But just like the stock market those commodities are falling. Foss says, "Six weeks ago we were getting 160 dollars a ton for newspaper, now we are getting $60 dollars a ton."

Almost overnight the price of steel went from $200 a ton down to $25 a ton, prompting gjcri to stockpile their steel. Foss says that change prompted a big change. "China has suddenly shuttered a bunch of their mills and laid a bunch of their own people off and consequently when the mills don't require material that kinda brings things to a big halt."
GJCRI contracts with the City of Grand Junction, the city gets 60% of the sales of recycled material to help offset the cost of the program. The other costs are covered by money they get from trash pick up. "If all of the sudden we were receiving zero revenue from the sale of products in the coming years it could affect those rates to pick up garbage."

Luckily GJCRI is still able to sell most of their goods, which has their employees smiling. "This program will not stop or fail or anything because of the fluctuation in the market."

So while Foss may be storing his steel waiting for the price to climb back up, he'll continue to collect what we throw out, he says it's an urban mining operation.

The city says 3,000 use curbside recycling. The cost of pick–up $1.75 per month.

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