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Environment and Outdoors

Prices For Recycled Material Have Recovered From A Three Year Slump

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Willis Ryder Arnold
/
Maine Public
Workers at the ecomaine waste disposal facility in Portland.

Waste processor Ecomaine says it's making money again on scrap paper. When China stopped importing recycled paper and plastic in 2018, it produced such a glut that last July, Ecomaine was paying companies to take its product. Now, the market has reversed, in part, because of the pandemic-driven need for more paper packaging. Ecomaine Chief Executive Kevin Roche says he's hoping some Maine mills will get into the act:

"Now, we have tried a few loads on a trial basis. But it's not commercially available yet. But my hope is that it will be there so that we, once again, can be a provider for recycled scrap paper to make new paper packaging right here in Maine," Roche says.

Roche says prices have also rebounded for recycled plastic, metal and cardboard. Ecomaine serves dozens of communities around the state. In recent years they've faced higher fees due to the slump in prices for recycling material, so the rising prices will be welcomed by them as well.