Recycling Business Challenges Affecting Our Industry & Customers
At Pro Disposal, we believe in recycling and the impact it has on the environment. Recycling saves energy, reduces overuse of landfills and preserves our natural resources and wildlife.
For these reasons and more, we encourage our customers to make the right choice and participate in our recycling program.
With that said, the recycling industry is currently undergoing significant changes, and those are influencing Pro Disposal and other recycling companies across the United States.
Whats the State of the Recycling Industry?
As of January 1, 2018, China, one of the largest consumers of U.S. recycled material announced they would be imposing strict standards for the cleanliness of recycled materials they would accept for import.
Called the National Sword Policy, the standard for contamination of recycled materials decreased from 2% to 0.5% with further tightening occurring on 3/1/18.
To meet these standards, U.S. recycling plants now require more employees to hand-sort recycled materials and significant investments have been made in improving the quality of processing equipment.
What Does This Mean to Pro Disposal Customers
The National Sword Policy has caused significant increases in recycling processing costs as well as a decline in the value of materials.
We believe in providing our customers with transparent messaging about their pricing. Just a few months prior to the National Sword Policy going into effect, Pro Disposal received a modest rebate for processing recycled materials, costing us nothing. Today, we are subject to fees close to disposal prices to process recycled materials.
Luckily, Pro Disposal has been able to ensure that materials are still recycled, and not sent to landfills, which is not the case for many recycling service providers.
Why Do I Have to Pay for Recycling?
If recycled materials are worth something how come consumers pay to send materials to a recycling center? Recycling also requires a commitment and a little extra effort from the individual, which has been made easier by single-stream sorting. Justifying recycling fees is something that Pro Disposal and other recycling companies must answer on a regular basis.
Curbside recycling is a service. Recycling companies invest a significant amount of upfront capital to construct state-of-the-art recycling facilities that need to be continually maintained. On an ongoing basis, drivers are hired to haul recycled materials from your home to a facility where hired employees ensure materials are properly sorted and are not contaminated.
Like other commodities including gasoline, the prices of recycled materials are constantly changing. Today, costs associated with running a successful recycling program have increased to the point where they match or exceed the cost of sending the same materials to the landfill.
Why Should I Recycle?
For the same cost as a couple cups of coffee per-month, you can play an important part in maintaining our environment. We encourage existing customers to not be put off by the addition of supplemental fees and individuals who are not participating in our program to consider adding recycling services because its the right thing to do.
What Can I Do to Help Decrease Recycling Costs?
While we believe it is everyones job together to keep materials that can be reused out of landfills, we also believe in passing on knowledge to do it right.
Contamination and increased scrutiny in contamination is one of the biggest reasons recycling costs have skyrocketed. Plastic bags, un-rinsed containers and non-recyclable materials entering the stream can cause a significant burden on the recycling process, which in turn, affects costs. Read our page on preparing your recyclables and whats recyclable and whats not with Pro Disposal.