In 2018 China changed the world’s recycling market by closing its doors to the majority of the recycled material exported by the United States. During that year, the commodities market for those materials (mixed paper, plastics, and cardboard) have plummeted, making it necessary to change the financial model for recycling in America in order to continue. While many municipal recycling coordinators and advocates are familiar with this situation, many of the decision-makers in municipalities are not. This creates an opportunity for increased education and guidance on these issues for community leaders.
MassRecycle President Gretchen Carey (Recycling Coordinator for Republic Services), and MassRecycle Vice President Waneta Trabert (Director of Solid Waste Materials Management for City of Newton) co-authored this guidance document to demonstrate the financial causes that have resulted in rising recycling costs. They also share strategies municipalities can employ when negotiating a contract at a time when the cost of recycling is increasing. This document paints a full picture of the current global recycling situation and serves as a valuable resource for municipal decision makers to increase their knowledge raise awareness, and provide guidance.