Recycling organizations and vendors both locally and statewide are scrambling to react to a sudden market shift.

Recycle Livingston issued a notice to members regarding upcoming changes attributed to the collapse of the market for recyclable materials, which is attached. Currently, recyclables are shipped overseas. There has been increasing volatility in the worldwide markets for recyclable materials and China began imposing higher standards for the materials they would accept. It ultimately determined no materials from the U.S. were acceptable, closing that market. Officials say unfortunately the U.S. recycling industry is to blame, as standards for the types and cleanliness of materials being accepted for “recycling” were far too low, referred to as “wishful recycling”.

Vietnam, Malaysia and India continued to accept the “marginally recyclable” materials but in July all three without warning stopped accepting it from the U.S. Recycle Livingston’s vendor, GFL, notified them that effective immediately, GFL would no longer pick up materials for no charge and they would have to pay $200 for the transportation of each load. In addition, rebates on materials would be reduced and some would no longer be accepted while others would only be accepted for increased fees. Officials say to add insult to injury; those materials would not be recycled but incinerated or landfilled. Shortly put, if loads are contained with materials that cannot be recycled, the loads will cost Recycle Livingston money and will not be recycled.

After several conversations, GFL has since agreed to postpone the changes until September 1st to allow the Recycle Livingston board time to evaluate changes and notify members. The board has implemented some emergency measures that will go into effect at that time, which include increased membership and gate fees and new requirements for certain items that must be separated. A general membership meeting is planned to answer questions on all of the changes August 28th at 7pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brighton. (JM)