Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Recession Puts Economy in the Trash

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Recession Puts Economy in the Trash

Article excerpt

The economy is in the trash bin - literally.

Paper and metal waste products normally collected for recycling have been on the decline in recent months, Oklahoma City-area recycling companies said this week. And garbage in general from individual consumers just hasn't been piling up like it did a year ago, said others in the waste management industry.

"It's fairly typical in a recessionary environment," said Phil Rivard, regional vice president of Denver-based Waste Connections Inc., which has trash pickup operations in Oklahoma. "When you're in this type of economy, you see people buying less overall - fewer pizzas, less fast food - so you see less at the curb as a result.

"And people are making decisions not to pay us in subscription markets, which you'll see in more rural areas in Oklahoma. They may be taking their trash to the landfill on their own," he said. "We're absolutely seeing a reduction in volume."

As trash drops off, so does the need to employ people to haul it away, Rivard said. The company declared a hiring freeze late last year as the construction industry started winding down, but company executives foresaw more than just a seasonal contraction under way, he said. Much of Waste Collections' business involves hauling debris from C&D, or constructions and demolitions.

Kimberly Barker at Recyclers of Oklahoma confirmed her company is being affected as well from the shift in construction work. Commercial clients such as plumbing or window frame manufacturers normally bring trucks laden with tons of metal such as brass, copper and aluminum to the recycler to recoup some of their costs instead of dumping in a landfill. But when the profit margin for those materials evaporated, many of her suppliers decided the effort to recycle was no longer worth it.

"Our prices are set on what the stock market does daily, and they can fluctuate quite a bit. …

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