As recyclers nationwide struggle to adjust to the sharp decline in commodities prices, ARCA Recycling says it’s successfully adapting to trends impacting the recycling of appliances and consumer electronics by negotiating contracts with utilities and manufacturers that reflect the industry’s changing landscape.
Scrap steel prices have fallen 22 percent the past year and are down 57 percent over the last two years. Nonferrous metals have had similar price declines. US steel imports have dramatically increased over the past year and the European Union recently launched new probes into Chinese steel imports, claiming unfair competition. The American Iron and Steel Institute has called on the US government to “address injurious import surges.”
“We’ve become less reliant on scrap metal revenue by adjusting our utility contracts and raising our pricing over the past six months,” said Edward R. (Jack) Cameron, ARCA Recycling’s president, in a statement. “Utilities, manufacturers, retailers and consumers are all realizing the landscape has changed dramatically, evidenced by many private and public recycling programs struggling financially. Sharing costs ensures the long-term viability of a recycling market that delivers important environmental benefits.”
ARCA Recycling is a wholly owned subsidiary of Appliance Recycling Centers of America.
For the recycling of every 1,000 refrigerators that were more than 20 years old, the EPA estimates more than $800,000 in benefits through lower energy consumption and fewer harmful emissions.
ApplianceSmart, ARCA’s retail arm, was the first independent retailer to join the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program, which launched 10 years ago. National appliance retailers Home Depot, Best Buy and Sears — also RAD members — have recently started charging fees for recycling TVs, monitor and select appliances.