Prices for recycled materials drop

A slowdown in Canada’s economy is threatening to affect the availability of recycling facilities in many cities.

That’s according to independent reports by the Edmonton Journal and the CBC. Both outlets reported the decreased demand for certain recycled materials, including cardboard, aluminum and mixed paper, has driven prices down to the point that many recycling centres are now paying to have recyclable materials taken from their facilities.

Fort St. John EcoDepot owner Lindsay Heal says many recycling centre owners she’s spoken with are taking a serious hit due to price drops. She attributes the reduced values to slumping recycled materials markets in China, a major market for the recycling industry.

However, Heal says locally, it’s the Peace River Regional District that will be feeling the effects of these price drops. The PRRD subsidizes recycling centres in the district, including EcoDepot, and pays a flat rate to those centres in exchange for the now-dropping proceeds recieved from wholesale buyers for the recycled materials.

Shannon Anderson with PRRD’s Solid Waste Management Department says the district will see some revenue losses due to the dropping prices. Normally the district expects to see somewhere around $50,000 per year in revenue from recycled materials, but this year’s total to date is only around $30,000. Despite this, Anderson says he doesn’t anticipate a reduction in recycling facilities in the district.

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Heal says she expects prices to get worse before they get better and she anticipates many municipalities will lose their depots in the coming months.

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