Monday, December 8, 2008

The superior man seeks what is right; the inferior one, what is profitable


Before, you could be green by being greedy, now you’ve really got to rely more on your notions of civic participation

Jim Wilcox, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley

Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up


Trash has crashed.

The economic downturn has decimated the market for recycled materials like cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals. Across the country, this junk is accumulating by the ton in the yards and warehouses of recycling contractors, which are unable to find buyers or are unwilling to sell at rock-bottom prices.

Ordinarily the material would be turned into products like car parts, book covers and boxes for electronics. But with the slump in the scrap market, a trickle is starting to head for landfills instead of a second life.

“It’s awful,” said Briana Sternberg, education and outreach coordinator for Sedona Recycles, a nonprofit group in Arizona that recently stopped taking certain types of cardboard, like old cereal, rice and pasta boxes. There is no market for these, and the organization’s quarter-acre yard is already packed fence to fence.

“Either it goes to landfill or it begins to cost us money,” Ms. Sternberg said.
In West Virginia, an official of Kanawha County, which includes Charleston, the state capital, has called on residents to stockpile their own plastic and metals, which the county mostly stopped taking on Friday. In eastern Pennsylvania, the small town of Frackville recently suspended its recycling program when it became cheaper to dump than to recycle. In Montana, a recycler near Yellowstone National Park no longer takes anything but cardboard.

There are no signs yet of a nationwide abandonment of recycling programs. But industry executives say that after years of growth, the whole system is facing an abrupt slowdown.
Many large recyclers now say they are accumulating tons of material, either because they have contracts with big cities to continue to take the scrap or because they are banking on a price rebound in the next six months to a year.

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You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.

Harlan Ellison