Why recycling economics are in the trash bin

Read the full story at CBS News.

The recent unexpected collapse in oil prices is putting the squeeze on the recycling industry.

As a result of crashing crude prices, it’s cheaper for plastics companies to use new or virgin materials than recycled stuff. Prices are so low for recycled plastics and glass bottles that companies such as Waste Management (WM) or local governments have to pay to have it hauled away. It’s a simple issue of supply and demand.

These Glowing Tubes Turn Trash Collection Into A Competitive Data Viz Game

Read the full story in Fast Company.

One of the most annoying (and disgusting) aspects of organizing a music festival is dealing with the mounds of trash left on the ground afterwards. By turning the process of throwing away trash into a competitive game, a new social design project called Wecup may well be the best way to get thousands of drunk people to stop littering so much.

New CMI process recycles valuable rare earth metals from old electronics

Read the full story from the Critical Materials Institute.

Scientists at the Critical Materials Institute have developed a two-step recovery process that makes recycling rare-earth metals easier and more cost-effective.

California authorities crack down on cardboard theft

Read the full story in the Fresno Bee.

The crackdown in gritty, industrial suburbs east of Los Angeles aims to put a stop to a long-running practice that surges with cardboard prices and wallops trash company revenue — and could eventually push up trash collection rates for homeowners and shopkeepers.

New York City has battled cardboard theft for years. Local authorities elsewhere have cited those who swipe recyclables from waste hauler-provided bins, but the efforts haven’t curtailed the theft of cardboard, which can net anywhere from $100 to $200 a ton.

When the economy booms, cardboard prices rise as manufacturers make more goods and need more packaging to sell them. Thieves are more brazen, and steal much more, when cardboard prices peak.

Waste haulers count on selling the recyclables they retrieve at the curb to offset the cost of collection, industry experts said.

Techtastic: upcycling old electronics and mechanical items in a big way – in pictures

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Responsible disposal of electronic and mechanical items is a global challenge, but there is a creative way out. Here is a selection of the best of upcycled tech.

We need to talk about your old basement TV

Read the full post at Grist.

In the latest episode of “So You Think You’re Doing a Good Thing?” we discuss what to do with outdated yet still perfectly useful electronics. Spoiler: You’re going to feel guilty no matter what because that’s what it means to be environmentally conscious in a consumerist society.

If you live in the Champaign-Urbana (Illinois) area, the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission publishes a list of local places to recycle used electronics. Note that many of these locations are national chains or charities, so you may find it helpful even if you don’t live in the Champaign-Urbana area.