Recycling program back on track

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County Green Team’s recycling efforts have made it through the worst of the COVID-19 lockdown and have seen a huge increase in recyclables.

However, while the program has seen more materials coming in, it also has seen an increase in costs and less accepted types of recyclables.

“Corrugated cardboard (OCC), and No. 1 and No. 2 plastics are seeing healthy demand,” said Green Team Director Lou Vega. “Increased home delivery due to the pandemic has driven up stateside need for OCC.”

He said the increased interest for No. 1 and No. 2 plastic results directly from the higher cost of oil.

“While we prefer a reduction in single-use plastics, having a demand for them is helpful,” Vega said.

Other materials such as aluminum and steel recyclables remain stable. Glass and No. 3 through No. 7 plastics remain non-lucrative and are unwanted at this time, he said.

On the demand side, Vega said China was the single largest buyer of American recycling exports. Because recycling is a market-based system, the cost to process recycling has increased significantly without the Chinese demand. This negatively impacted Mahoning County by increasing the cost of the drop-off program by nearly $200,000. The curbside recycling program has seen similar price increases.

Read more in Sunday’s Vindicator.


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