Market for Recycled Materials Shrink

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Grand Forks Herald

Garbage Haulers Feel Squeeze

DULUTH — Dan Hartel, owner of Hartel’s Disposal, has seen plenty of market fluctuation in his time, but nothing quite like the recent slump in demand for reclaimed materials.

“Pricing is at an all-time historic low,” he said.

“We have a tremendous amount of supply in the country and not enough demand,” Hartel said.

For years, China imported vast quantities of recycled materials from the U.S., but recently the Chinese government has begun to place stricter controls on the flow.

In September alone, Chinese imports of scrap paper and metal dropped by a respective 23 and 44 percent, according to Recycling Today.

Local garbage haulers have felt the squeeze.

“They estimate that 20 to 30 percent of our recycling was being exported, and that’s kind of been shut off by the Chinese. So, now all that has to be absorbed domestically, and we don’t have enough demand for it,” Hartel said.

Even recycled materials that have traditionally commanded higher prices are now selling for depressed values.

China has placed a 50 percent tariff on imports of scrap aluminum, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

Meanwhile, U.S. demand for recycled aluminum cans has…

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