Published On: Wed, Aug 17th, 2016

Recyclable commodity prices are down

For most of us, recycling is commonplace. For many, it has simply become an integral part of life.

Consumers put their recyclables outside their homes or drop them off at a collection point and forget about them. At some point, a hauler takes them away.

Plastic Recycling

Recyclable commodity prices are down

What happens next they may not be aware of. Some people believe those who sell the materials are raking in the dough.

Recyclable materials are transported to plants, where they are sorted, processed and compacted, and then sold to companies that further process or reuse the materials. The prices at which the materials are sold fluctuates with the markets. Right now, prices on recyclable commodities are down.

“It’s been a very challenging market,” said Matt Cougle, chief operating officer of Cougle’s Recycling Inc., Hamburg. “Over the past couple years, we’ve seen some really reduced prices for material.”

In fact, prices are so low that the Berks County Solid Waste Authority, which operates seven collection points in the county, pays about $5,000 a month more to have the material hauled than it gets in return, said Jane Meeks, the authority’s executive director.

“There’s always a cost involved in recycling,” she said. “Whether the trash hauler is passing that through on their trash fees, or a municipality is charging a recycling fee, recycling has never been free.”