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Maine Recyclers Deal With Chinese Foreign Garbage Ban

Local recyclers are facing financial and logistical challenges brought on by a lack of global demand.

On Jan. 1, China banned 24 kinds of recyclables it used to import. That ban affects material sales for organizations like ecomaine.

General manager Kevin Roche says moving waste like residential paper is more costly than it was last year.

“Last year at this time mixed residential paper was selling for $60-$70 a ton and now it’s selling for practically nothing, right down to zero and, in some cases you gotta pay shipping,” he says. “When it’s a weak market like it is now we’re on the phone calling searching for orders versus a year ago when it was a very strong market where everybody was calling us.”

Roche says storage remains an issue. Ecomaine has 20 trailers waiting for shipment. But he remains optimistic, saying ecomaine is still receiving orders.

Ed is a Maine native who spent his early childhood in Livermore Falls before moving to Farmington. He graduated from Mount Blue High School in 1970 before going to the University of Maine at Orono where he received his BA in speech in 1974 with a broadcast concentration. It was during that time that he first became involved with public broadcasting. He served as an intern for what was then called MPBN TV and also did volunteer work for MPBN Radio.