As the global economy slows down, demand for recyclables is also dragging. This has caused scrap dealers from Sacramento to San Diego to stockpile collections and some even charge walk-in customers for their throwaways, according to the Sacramento Bee. It’s not isolated to California either – reports are coming in from around the country, including these from Georgia and Vermont.
In October, baled newspapers in Northern California were going for $140 to $150 a ton. By November, the market price had more than halved to $55 to $60 a ton.
The buildup of unsold garbage poses a potential public health hazard and could end up in landfills; making it hard for municipalities to comply with a state mandate to divert at least half of their waste from landfills.
Scrap steel buyers in Asia are canceling purchases after prices tumbled more than 80 percent in the past four months as demand slumps.
“There are buyers in China, India and Europe that are literally fighting for their survival,” Bob Garino, director of commodities at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., said in a Bloomberg article. “Steel prices have fallen off a cliff, and they just don’t have the money to honor their contracts.”
If the scrap market doesn’t pick up soon, homeowners could also see increases in their rubbish rates. The government sells the materials cities and counties collect from resident’s blue bins to scrap yards. The proceeds are then used to help offset the government’s cost of collection.