Recycling has picked up in the last few years, not because everyone has turned into treehuggers, but because folks could make money on recyclable materials. Now the New York Times reports the recession is hammering even that market:
The precipitous drop in prices for recyclables makes the stock market’s performance seem almost enviable.
On the West Coast, for example, mixed paper is selling for $20 to $25 a ton, down from $105 in October, according to Official Board Markets, a newsletter that tracks paper prices. And recyclers say tin is worth about $5 a ton, down from $327 earlier this year. There is greater domestic demand for glass, so its price has not fallen as much [Matt Richtel and Kate Galbraith, "Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up," New York Times, 2008.12.08].
Kanawha County, West Virginia, is asking its residents to stockpile their plastics and metals. There's one more reason to buy less stuff: you might not be able to throw it away!
But wait a minute: I feel a brainstorm coming on! The recession was caused by the housing bust. Lots of people can't afford houses now. China isn't buying up our recyclables. Hmm... how about we build cheap houses out of recyclables?!? Earthships, anyone?
Build your next house from junk! Read: