There's been a lot of attention on plastics recycling lately, thanks in part to the high cost of virgin resin. It reminds me a little bit of the early 1990s, when recycling was part of my beat. At the time, it seemed like I was getting phone calls every week from people interested in starting plastics recycling companies. Who will buy our material, they asked. How much will they pay? A handful of those pioneering companies are still around today. Many more didn't last more than a few years. Like now, prices for virgin resin were inflated back then, in part because of Gulf War. (The explosion at the Phillips 66 Co. plant in Pasadena, Texas, also contributed to the rise in virgin HDPE prices). A couple of recycling-related items caught my attention today. First, this plastics recycling backgrounder came from Consumer Reports magazine's Greener Choices electronic newsletter. It's a decent source of information that doesn't slip into the common mistake of describing some plastics as unrecyclable, or worse. Nice job. Second, I noticed this story from the Indiana Gazette newspaper's Web site in Indiana, Pa., which notes that the local recycling program is actually generating a profit this year thanks to rising prices for recyclables, especially newsprint and cardboard. (Unfortunately the borough doesn't collect plastic yet, but it may start soon). Plastics recycling is a cyclical business, and if virgin resin prices start to drop, some recyclers will consider that pretty bad news.
Spotlight on recycling
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