Recycling can become an easier sell as prices drop. Though an article from the WSJ argued that slumping oil price pulls down cost of production, the claim is untenable when we consider this issue comprehensively. They only thought about that lower oil price and drag down the cost of producing virgin plastic. “The ramifications are being felt far and wide. In the U.S., many cities and towns pick up detergent bottles, milk jugs and other bits of household plastic and sell them to recyclers who sort, process and resell the scrap. These municipalities typically earned cash—as much as $10 a ton in parts of New Jersey—for selling recyclable materials under contracts that tie the sales price to commodities prices, with a minimum.” Many contract have been expired and replaced by a new one with lower rate recently. “‘They are definitely concerned about the possibility that they may have to pay for the materials to be removed,’ said Dominick D’Altilio, president of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers, a Bridgewater, N.J., group that includes recycling firms and municipalities.” Does this really make sense? No!
Lower oil price does not only save money for producing virgin plastic but also recycling. “Each year, 29 billion plastic water bottles are produced for use in the United States, according to the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental organization in Washington, D.C. Manufacturing them requires the equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil, so rising oil and natural gas prices have only exacerbated the high price of virgin plastic. “Plastics News,” a trade magazine, lists the recent price of PET virgin bottle resin pellets between 83 and 85 cents a pound, compared to only 58 to 66 cents a pound for PET recycled pellets.” Obviously, huge amount of oil is demanded to recycle plastic each year. Thus, decreasing oil price also provides a crucial opportunity for those recyclers. This should be a motivation that draw more firms accelerate their steps of recycling, which absolutely lessens the credibility of WSJ’s claim.
Another doubt is that recycling market will receive little influence from slumping oil price this time. Actually, the radical drop of oil price is a short-term case. As many countries, including US, China, some European countries, performed disappointed about their economy lately with the sanction towards Russia, oil price decreased insanely. Nevertheless, this case has little possibility to develop being a trend. Many reviving signals have already emerged worldly. Furthermore, recyclers have the natural advantage that they hold the ethics. They can shout “we recycle for humans and our future!”