Recycling is a big business – over $500 billion globally. It is the second largest segment for employment in the world next to farming. There are people involved in operating multi-million dollar trash separator plants, power plants using garbage, and hauling garbage to trash scavengers. So there is a big spectrum of people who are employed in this industry.
We are generating more trash than ever before. We are buying more packaged items. The internet market is booming – so boxes are again prepared to ship. A study done by Duke University estimated an average American generates about 4.3 lbs of trash a day, and it is going up.
Recycling businesses are going through a difficult time now. The prices of many commodities have gone down – such as paper, metal, and plastic. China’s economy has slowed down, and it has affected the prices of recycled products. The demand for aluminum cans has gone down due to less demand for canned beverages in China. The price of oil has lowered significantly and it has taken a toll on the price of recycled plastic.
According to NBC News, there were several closings of recycling plants in California, Colorado, Florida and some other states in the USA due to the falling prices of recycled commodities. Waste Management mentioned that "on the recycling commodity price front, 2016 has seen a continuation of the downward slide, and current prices are down $20 per ton or 23 percent from January of 2015.”