A few headlines last week (well this one and this one) suggested that the recent recycling “crisis“, which was apparently going to bring an end to the recycling industry in Britain and lead to waste mountains the size of Nicaragua, is largely over. This is because the price of many recyclates (aka materials for recycling) has bounced back from a slight fall over the period from late 2008 – early 2009.
This follows hot on the heels of Liz Goodwin’s message in The Guardian urging consumers in the UK to “not stop recycling” and highlighting the fact that negative press surrounding the issue could fuel the fires and actually make the situation worse. After all there are a more than a few people out there who need very little excuse to turn around and say “I’m not spending four minutes of my tightly-scheduled day segregating waste! What the hell are holes in the ground for anyway?!”
What the bounce-back shows is that, although the price of materials for recycling will fluctuate, in the long term there is likely to be a value to the materials we reclaim from members of the public, schools, hospitals, churches and businesses. Perhaps this is because, on the whole, it makes good financial sense for the businesses that make the products we use to buy recycled raw materials rather than pay for virgin material. In many cases the price of recycled material is in fact cheaper than the price of non-recycled due to the sheer effort it takes to find new virgin material and process it for use in manufacturing.
This is good news for smaller businesses who have been most affected by a downward shift in the value of recyclates. This is partly because recycling companies charge on the basis of the value they can recoup by selling the materials for further processing and, where this value falls, they may have to increase the cost of collections to offset the change in price they receive. Larger businesses often have sufficient waste to generate an income from it (someone will pay to collect it) so they simply see a slight drop in the price they get (which is vastly preferential to paying for it to go to landfill and still a definite bonus on the balance sheet). Smaller businesses, on the other hand, almost always have to pay for someone to collect their waste because there is insufficient volume for it to be worth enough for someone to pay to collect it. So price rises mean greater waste expenditure and an increased likelihood that a business will revert to the kerbside waste collection to avoid the cost of a recycling collection.
If you are a small business and want to find a recycling company which will collect small amounts of materials on a regular basis (perhaps in order to compare this with the cost of your general waste collection – which, lest we forget, goes to landfill) then visit the main WAB website today.
If you have any difficulties using the directory or cannot find an outlet for your waste, then contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.