Recycling Layoffs

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 - 7:25pm

More layoffs, it’s a sign of the times. This time it’s the recycling plant Exide closing its doors and leaving more than 130 people without a job. Our Lauren Unger explains it’s part of a wider problem.

We spoke with several local recycling firms and as we found out it’s been a roller coaster ride with many of the companies just trying to hang on.

At the Capital Area Recycling Council, their job is to take technology apart. All with the hopes of reusing and recycling to keep these machines out of landfills. Nancy Jo Craig of CACRC says, “For the computers, take it apart into all it’s separate component parts and that material has value.” But, lately, that value has decreased, putting a pinch on many recycling companies. “Unfortunately, we’ve had to start charging for a lot of items.” A small fee to take unwanted items. t despite ay economic concerns, the computers keep coming in. People willing to do the right thing for the environment, even if it costs a few extra bucks.

At Southern Recycling, the metal is piling up. Chip Hunter says, “What we’re seeing in the last six months is unprecedented.” Huge mounds of metal where there’s normally only open ground. “It’s finding the customers who are going to buy the material right now.” Low prices combined with even lower demand have created a perfect storm for the industry. “People just aren’t spending as much so capital projects are going by the wayside, people aren’t building as many barges as they used to, or doing as much work in the plants as they used to.”

Two industries trying to serve the environment while also making some green. Both companies we spoke with say they’re in it for the long haul and are still going strong. They’ve made the necessary adjustments and are looking forward to an eventual rebound in the market.