Andrew Kouskouris wrote:

“What are the main problems to recycling markets due to the financial downturn?

If we have to start landfilling recyclables we will lose public confidence in recycling schemes and it will take a long time to build this up again.

Local Authorities must determine the extent of the problems they may be facing.

There is a huge amount of uncertainty in the market place at the moment and what is needed is a co-ordinated approach to solving both the short term needs and issues.

The volume of waste produced by businesses is decreasing.

The story of how this happened is the usual tragic saga of good intentions turning into inflexible regulations , and of unforeseen consequences.

Paper mills close in some member states because are unable to competitive with China’s high-tech mills.

Mixed grades of materials (of varying quality) are typically attracting lower prices because more effort and expense has to go into sorting and cleaning materials to produce the equivalent of virgin raw material.

Understanding the forces driving the economics of recycled materials, the negative environmental consequences of the market downturn are:

– Reduced plant maintenance or lower treatment standards due to pressure to reduce costs
– Lower quality of processed recyclable material due to pressure to reduce costs
– Inappropriate storage of materials until market conditions improve, which could cause environmental harm
– An increase in abandoned vehicles caused by the fall in the price of scrap metal

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