- Taking recycled materials and transforming them into products which have little or no market value makes recycling costly, leaders of major recycling firms said at a convention on Wednesday. At the Waste Expo, held in Las Vegas, NV, one industry leader called recycling a "broken model."
- Because recycling leaves companies with an excess of raw materials, many are forced to give away the products of recycling efforts.
- Republic Services’ government affairs representative Steven Carr said the product of recycled material often is given away, since there is so little need for such items as recycled paper and glass. "You pay the money and take it through the process, then there’s nothing to do with it," Carr said.
While leaders of major industry firms acknowledged the public’s desire for recycling, they mentioned the elephant in the waste and recycling arena: low or nonexistent return values of recycled materials.
The problem of electronic waste illustrates this point, since across the nation, warehouses hold old tube TVs and dated computers that are more expensive to recycle than to store. And while the government could pass more laws requiring manufactures to handle recycling of items they created, it also might be worth considering for private firms and government agencies to devise ways to create viable markets for recycled material.