San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 28th, 2009
Market downturn bedevils Hays’ recycling program


Hays County officials plan to stockpile recyclable material, especially plastics, to wait out plummeting prices.

“If we wanted to recycle any of our bales of plastics right now, they’d charge us. There’s absolutely no market for plastic right now and the market for some of the other material we recycle isn’t much better,” said Jerry Pinnix, the county’s parks director who oversees the county’s recycling center in Wimberley.

With in the last year, No. 1 plastic was fetching $225 a ton and No. 2 plastic was bringing $340 a ton. But with no demand, the county would have to pay to have the material recycled.

Similarly, cardboard has fallen to $15 a ton, down from $100, and aluminum cans to 10 cents a pound, down from 80 cents a pound. Newspaper has held steady at $25 a ton.

The global financial crisis is to blame for the recycling slump, Pinnix said. For example, he said, “If you don’t have people ordering manufactured goods, you don’t need cardboard to wrap them in.”

The county will keep plastics, as space allows, to wait for the market to recover, he said. Overall, however, Pinnix said he still expects the recycling program to pay for itself.

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