Recycling Crash Hits Dallas

Stockpiling and collection fee hike considered

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dallas may stockpile collected recyclables hoping for better prices and charge residents more for collection after a crash in prices paid for scrap material. 

    Dallas has pushed recycling in recent years and residents responded with a big increase in material separated from regular trash that went to the landfill.  "They do realize it is better for the environment," said Dallas Council member Linda Koop.

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    But a briefing to the Dallas City Council this week shows monthly prices paid to the city for recycled material has nose dived since Sept., 2008, from around $230,000, to just over $50,000.

    "It does pay for itself and has paid for itself previous to this," said Koop about the Dallas recycling program.  "But when the commodities go down, it might take a few months lag time for the prices to go back up enough."

    The contractor that sorts recyclables for Dallas has a large warehouse where baled material could be stored. 

    "Fortunately up to this point we haven't had to do that," said Rick Peters with Greenstar Recycling.  "Even though the prices are down, we've been able to move material."

    Because the prices have fallen so low, it would take a 25 percent increase in the recycling collection rate for residents to make up the difference. But officials said no increases are planned at this time.

    Despite the downturn in prices, Peters believes the future for the recycling market in North Texas is still good. "We do anticipate things to rebound slowly for the remainder of the year."

    Dallas City Council will discuss the issue Wednesday. Click here for information on that briefing.