Businesses such as Dallas Recycling are slowing down operations..
At the business off Singleton in West Dallas, sorting areas that were busy a few months ago have been shut down.
Half the staff has been laid off, and plastic and styrofoam are stacking up in warehouses. Even cardboard and paper aren't moving like they used to.
"We're selling a lot less than we used to, along with a lot lower price," said Jill McCagg, general manager.
She said it's happening across the country in all areas of the recycling business: After years of growth, the industry is now experiencing a severe slowdown.
"It's a huge loss of income, and not only that, we don't know when the market's going to turn around," McCagg said. "The market always fluctuates, and it always goes up and down throughout the year, but never like this."
Dallas Recycling collects cardboard, wood and paper from commercial companies. At the warehouse it is sorted, baled and sold to mills, which break it down into recyclable pulp and send it elsewhere.
A lot of it ends up in China. According to a New York Times article, China is the biggest export market for recyclables from the United States, and demand from China has dried up as the economy has slowed.
So the mills aren't buying as much, and some are closing.
Some recyclers are having to dump stuff into landfills.
"You can only store so much," McCagg said. "If the mills stop taking cardboard and plastic and China's market doesn't change, this stuff will end up in the landfill, because there will be no place to put it."