What does the future hold for national and local market conditions and trends in the age of COVID?

On May 29, 2020, Melissa Filiaggi, MRN President, and Manager, Recycling for the Maryland Environmental Service along with Joe Pickard, Chief Economist and Director of Commodities for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. shared the current state of the markets for Maryland as well as likely prospects for the future.

Listen to the full webinar below.


Quick takeaways:

Manufacturing output has contracted sharply in U.S. which has had significant implications on the supply and demand for recyclables as most of the scrap processed in the U.S. is consumed here as well (70% vs. 30% exported). Industrial production declined 11.2% Apr (4.5% Mar) and it is expected to decline more in May.

There has been a significant change in stream of recyclables due to the stay at home orders as regional MRFs have seen increases in residential tonnage and decreases in commercial tonnage. Waste streams have also experienced increased contamination with more plastic bags and other non-recyclable items entering the stream. Temporary shut-downs and/or staff shortages have also impacted mills processing capabilities.

*It is important to note that recycling markets have risen and declined multiple times over the past 30+ years and have generally found a way to adjust. The value of recycling is more than just commodity sales prices; it’s about saving resources, landfill spaces, greenhouse emissions etc. We should continue to support recycling programs while also shifting focus to reducing and reusing thus creating cleaner streams and stronger programs.

*Featured Photo by Bas Emmen on Unsplash