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Recycling management district braces for tight economy

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Fiscal challenges could follow 'blessed year'

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY – Paul Alvey called 2008 “a really blessed year” for the recycled materials he sells as executive director of the Perry County Recycling Management District, but said “prices have fallen drastically.”

“We made hay while the sun shone,” he told the district’s board of directors in a regular meeting Thursday. He was referring to improvements made to the district’s operations, including the purchase of a new baler for compressing recyclable materials for shipping, while the revenues from them were high. The commodities have netted $84,324 so far this year, he reported, compared to $71,000 for all of last year.

China has dramatically reduced the amount of recyclable materials it imports, he said, affecting prices worldwide. Alvey said he will hold the materials he has now and wait for prices to rise again. To sell it now “would be almost giving it away,” he said. “I’m anxious for the economy to improve, but we’re in good shape.”

He and an advisory board continue to seek more-efficient ways to collect cardboard, Alvey said, by far the largest money-maker among the materials the district collects. Nearly $43,000 was received for that commodity, with newspaper running a distant second at $12,272 so far this year. “Several folks have approached us about partnering with us on cardboard,” he said. Businesses that must dispose of a lot of cardboard can save money by recycling it instead of throwing it away, and the district provides trailers to some for that purpose.

He has said at past meetings that while other businesses approach him, he’d prefer to find a better collection method versus buying more trailers. A move in that direction came in an agreement by Veolia Environmental Services Solid Waste to deliver cardboard from a restaurant to the district, he said.