Back to Fort Fairfield Journal      WFFJ-TV      Contact Us


Recycled Cardboard Market Crashed


Aroostook Waste Solutions Down $75,000 in this year’s Budget


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, October 23, 2019


FORT FAIRFIELD -  Increased recycling rates of cardboard amidst a market that is already saturated with the product has caused a surplus which is forcing the price down, now making it cost more to recycle cardboard than the market is willing to pay.

   Aroostook Waste Solutions (formerly Tri-Community Landfill) is being hit particularly hard by this market slump.  They are paying out $1.50 for every $1.00 worth of recyclables they take in with the primary negative driver being cardboard. 

   Reporting for AWS, Stev Rogeski says that situation might improve if the cardboard prices come back up.  

   AWS is considering this problem going into next year’s budget since they are currently around $75,000 behind budget this year because of the recyclable prices being lower than anticipated. 

   “There’s got to be some changes to the way recycling is done and we don’t want to catch people off guard too far so we’ll let them know we’re looking at some different alternatives,” said Rogeski.

   The real cost issue right now is in the cardboard price.  It’s costing more to bail it up and ship it out than they receive in money for it.

   “The real bulk of our issues right now are cardboard.  We could pack it up and bail it and it’s costing us more to do that than we get for when we’re shipping it out,” said Rogeski.  “We don’t know where that’s going to go from there.  As a board we’re going to discuss if we have to keep maintaining that because that’s what the State’s telling us we need to do.”

     The State of Maine has mandated an unrealistic 50% recycling rate which no waste management facility in the state has met.  AWS currently has one of the highest rates of recycling in the state, at 38%.

   Only good, clean corrugated can be recycled.  The rest of the textured or glossy cardboard goes into the landfill.  It could end up being cheaper to just throw all the cardboard into the landfill rather than continue to lose money, but the State of Maine will not allow it.  “We don’t have any issue putting it there on the hill, there’s plenty of room for it,” said Rogeski.  “But the issue is the State mandates us to meet a certain goal and cardboard’s already gone away from that.”