NEW BREMEN — Changing market demand for plastics suitable for recycling has begun to negatively affect the bottom line at the Auglaize County Recycling and Solid Waste District (ACRSWD).
But at recycling centers such as in the New Bremen, the overall recycling effort supports the bottom line of the local scout troops who work at the center to raise funds and learn about the value of work.
“Since China pulled out of the plastic recycling business,” said Scott Cisco, Auglaize County Recycling and Solid Waste District coordinator, “the demand for plastic has dropped.”
With that drop in demand, there was a drop in the price at which the district can sell plastic to companies who reuse it for new products. Cisco said another issue is that with cheaper fuel, which plastic is made from, “sometimes it is cheaper to make virgin plastic from oil.” As a result, keeping processing costs down is critical, he said. This is the reason why the ACRSWD had to begin banning any plastics besides No. 1 and No. 2 and threatened to prosecute offenders.
But despite the problems with plastic marketability, the recycling programs not only protect the environment, but also benefit volunteer groups like the Boy and Girl Scout troops in New Bremen. Jim Kronenberger, a volunteer at the New Bremen recycling center, as well as a village councilman, said the girl and boy troop take alternate weeks to come to the recycling center to sort the materials, as well as ready them for pickup by the Waste District.
“I got involved with my son when he joined Boy Scouts,” said Kronenberger. “It paid for their uniforms and camping trips.”
Not only do the scouts come in almost daily to keep up with the influx of recycling, he said the troops, either boys or girls, “sometimes, like the days after a holiday, have to come more than once in a day to keep up with recycles like brown glass.” The scouts also are still coming to assist people unloading their vehicles the second Saturday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m.
Kronenberger said his kids see first hand what could be considered junk’s being dropped off at their recycling center. He said it’s discouraging to have to sort though things that should not be left there.
Currently, the ACRSWD has decided to address that issue by putting out ads and press releases that say they will prosecute those who leave any other types of plastic besides No. 1 and No. 2 at the county recycling centers.
“It’s not something we want to do, but because there is no market demand for plastics other than No. 1 and No. 2, we are throwing away, at our expense, plastics we can’t sell. He said the worst things we get are plastic toys with metal in them, five-gallon buckets or hoses.
Cisco said, unfortunately, those plastics that don’t fit their needs would have to be put in the trash.
“We have to hope for some company who can find a use for these plastics with numbers higher than 2. But until then, consumers will have dispose of them in a landfill,” he said.
County residents can get a complete listing of what is recyclable by going to the ACRSWD website at https://www2.auglaizecounty.org/files/secondpagebro.jpg.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.