The economic downturn has decimated the market for recycled materials like cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals. Across the country, this junk is accumulating by the ton in the yards and warehouses of recycling contractors, which are unable to find buyers or are unwilling to sell at rock-bottom prices.

Ordinarily the material would be turned into products like car parts, book covers and boxes for electronics. But with the slump in the scrap market, a trickle is starting to head for landfills instead of a second life.

“It’s awful,” said Briana Sternberg, education and outreach coordinator for Sedona Recycles, a nonprofit group in Arizona that recently stopped taking certain types of cardboard, like old cereal, rice and pasta boxes. There is no market for these, and the organization’s quarter-acre yard is already packed fence to fence.

In West Virginia, an official of Kanawha County, which includes Charleston, the state capital, has called on residents to stockpile their own plastic and metals, which the county mostly stopped taking on Friday. In eastern Pennsylvania, the small town of Frackville recently suspended its recycling program when it became cheaper to dump than to recycle. In Montana, a recycler near Yellowstone National Park no longer takes anything but cardboard.

There are no signs yet of a nationwide abandonment of recycling programs. But industry executives say that after years of growth, the whole system is facing an abrupt slowdown.

On the West Coast, for example, mixed paper is selling for $20 to $25 a ton, down from $105 in October, according to Official Board Markets, a newsletter that tracks paper prices. And recyclers say tin is worth about $5 a ton, down from $327 earlier this year. There is greater domestic demand for glass, so its price has not fallen as much.

In New York City, the city is getting paid $10 for a ton of paper, down from $50 or more before October, but it has no plans to cease recycling, said Robert Lange, the city’s recycling director. In Boston, one of the hardest-hit markets, prices are down to $5 a ton, and the city expects it will soon have to pay to unload its paper. But city officials said that would still be better than paying $80 a ton to put it in a landfill.

Excerpted from “Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up” by Matt Richtel and Kate Galbraith, published December 7, 2008 in The New York Times.

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“Rosa sat, so Martin could walk, so Obama could run, so this country can fly.”

Quote attributed from a man in St. Louis, Missouri interviewed by NPR.

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Metro is the world’s largest global newspaper. Metro is a free daily newspaper written and designed for young and ambitious professionals. It fits into a 15-minute read and gives metropolitans all they need to know, Monday to Friday, in their morning commutes.

Local, national and international news and colorful features are presented without any bias, with a proudly urban attitude and style. In the US, Metro is available Monday through Friday in different editions for New York, Boston and Philadelphia and the surrounding metropolitan areas.

Metro newspapers are part of Metro International, the publisher of the world’s largest and fastest-growing global newspaper and the pioneer of the high-quality free daily newspapers.

  • Metro International publishes 61 daily Metro editions in 88 major cities in 19 countries in 18 languages across Europe, North & South America and Asia.
  • Metro has a unique global reach – attracting a young, active, well-educated audience of over 18.5 million daily readers and over 37 million weekly readers.
  • Metro has an equal number of male and female readers and 70% are under the age of 45.

From Metro.us

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The first delicatessen products were distributed using the name Boar’s Head Brand in the New York City area in 1905. Products were delivered by horse-drawn wagon to small delicatessens and “Mom and Pop” stores.

By 1933, distribution of Boar’s Head Brand products had grown. It was at that time that the founder, Frank Brunckhorst, dissatisfied with the quality of cooked hams which were available to him, decided that he would open a manufacturing plant of his own. The first plant was started in a small building in Brooklyn with only three employees.

Even back then there were thousands of delicatessens in New York City, and there were a great number of small manufacturers of delicatessen specialties. The competition among these manufacturers was keen; and as a result, very high standards were set for the quality of delicatessen products. Frank Brunckhorst set his own high standards, and he would not vary from them. Before long, Boar’s Head Brand products could be found in all of the best delicatessens, gourmet stores and fine food establishments in the New York area.

With over 300 delicious products from which to choose, you can depend on Boar’s Head for the only full line of premium delicatessen products with never-ending variety and quality.

From Boar’s Head.

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Of New York City’s 578 miles of coastline, only a fraction, 14 miles, is reserved for the City’s seven public beaches. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation operates these beaches, found in every borough but Manhattan. The beaches are open to the public for just over three months every year, but in that time receive more visitors than the entire population of New York City. The Department of Parks and Recreation’s estimates indicate that approximately 15 million patrons visited the seven public beaches during the summer of 2002. Yet a New York City Council investigation finds that New York City beachgoers who expect sun, surf and sand might also find condoms, hypodermic needles, food wrappers, and other garbage littering both shore and sea.

While two beaches stood out as exceptionally clean, investigators found disturbing amounts of floatable debris and packaging waste from consumable goods like cigarettes, fast food products, and beverages at the other five. For example, investigators spotted “a tampon applicator only a few feet from where children played in the sand” at Coney Island in Brooklyn, and “a condom along the edge of the sand and water, where many kids were swimming” at Midland Beach in Staten Island.

From the report “Swimming in Trash? A Look into Cleanliness at NYC Beaches” by The Council of the City of New York published August 2004.

Go here for New York Magazine’s Summer Beach Guide.

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Several lanes of Interstate Highway 80 were shut down for hours overnight after a truck hauling Oreos crashed into a median, spilling tons of the chocolate cookies across the highway, police said.

The crash occurred at about 3:40 a.m. Monday on I-80 just east of Morris, said Master Sgt. Brian Mahoney of the Illinois State Police.

The truck was westbound, hauling about 20,000 pounds of Oreos, when the driver lost control and the rig hit a median before veering into the eastbound lanes. The impact ripped the trailer open, spilling its cargo across the eastbound lanes of the highway, he said.

The driver was not hurt, but police had to shut down the eastbound lanes for several hours while the cookies were cleaned up, Mahoney said. The wreckage had been moved to the side of the road and lanes had reopened by about 6 a.m.

From “Oreo spill: Got milk? Crash strews Oreos over I-80″ published May 19, 2008 at Chicago Tribune.

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Bring your unwanted working and non-working electronics to our three day collection drive. We will accept working and non-working computers, monitors and peripherals (keyboards, mice, etc.) as well as audio-visual equipment.

Event sponsored by the West 102 & 103 Streets Block Association, the West 104 Street Block Association, and the Upper West Side Recycling Center.

Location: Broadway, between 102 and 103 Streets, west side of Broadway
Dates and Times: Saturday May 17, 10am-4pm, Sunday May 18, 10am-4pm, Monday May 19, 4pm-7pm

From NYC.gov

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The Convenient Option

Where to Unload It: On the curb outside your building.
When: Schedule a pickup by calling 311 three days prior to your recycling-collection day.
What Happens Next: Freon is recovered, then all components are recycled.
While You’re at It: The Sanitation Department also accepts water coolers, dehumidifiers, and other Freon-containing items.

The Virtuous Option

Where to Unload It: One of eleven Goodwills in the city.
When: During open hours (call 718-728-5400 or go to goodwillny.org to check times).
What Happens Next: A/Cs are tested, dusted off, and then sold in stores for 50 to 75 percent of market value.
While You’re At It: Drop off any electronics, except computers, in good working condition.

From “Dump Your Junk” by Melissa Kirsch, published April 13, 2008 in New York Magazine.

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See Joshua Allen Harris’ new street art project, first spotted by the vigilant readers of Wooster Collective, in which he creates animals and things that look like animals out of trash bags, ties them to subway grates and leaves them to pounce on suckers when a subway rushes underneath. View video and photos.

From Fader and Wooster Collective.

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“Maybe there’s something profound to be discerned in how we look at garbage. If a fortune-teller can read the future in soggy tea leaves, what might be discovered if we look carefully at milk cartons and used paper towels, cooking grease and moldy bread? There is much to understand about garbage, and a reluctance, because of its very nature, to look too closely.”

Excerpted from “Nothing’s Wasted, Especially Garbage” by Edward Rothstein, published March 31, 2008 in The New York Times.

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