Recycling costs to members lower for now

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FARMINGTON – Flush from a season of high prices for recyclables, the directors of Sandy River Recycling Association voted last week to lower the cost it charges member towns for processing and transporting their recyclables from $40 to $35 a ton.

Under the new schedule, that would mean the town of Rangeley, which paid slightly more than $5,500 for the processing and transporting of the 138 tons of recyclables it generated in 2008, would only pay $4,830 for a savings of $670 or 12 percent in 2009.

“The board felt this cost reduction for towns was important in these economic times and besides we can afford it,”

said Rich Doughty, president of the 21-member board, noting that the goal in the long run was to make the association self sustaining through the sale of the recyclables on the world market.

It’s the third time the non-profit organization has lowered its cost per ton in recent years, reflecting the steadily rising returns for recyclables. According to Doughty, income from the sale of the recyclables went from $153, 600 in 2007 to $211,500 in 2008.

But that may soon become history. According to Ron Slater, “prices have finally started downward after a year and a half of super prices.”
In his report to the board this quarter, Slater noted that cardboard is currently selling for $61 a ton down about $50; newspaper is down $20 going for $131 and that the “bottom has dropped out of the steel market with cans selling for $0 to $10; last month they were selling for $157 a ton.”

And those are not the only numbers in decline. Tonnage is also down, Slater said. In 2006, member towns recycled 1,416 tons of recyclables; in 2008 there was a drop of almost 10 percent to 1,283 tons.

Directors believe that while some of the decline can be attributed to the loss of local industries much of it appears to be due to the lack of interest by homeowners to take a few extra minutes to separate their recyclables from their household trash.

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