The U.S. enjoys a giant trade surplus in scrap, including household recycling, says the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. According to the trade group’s chief economist, Joe Pickard : “We’re like the Saudi Arabia of scrap.”
Now there’s a heap of trouble confronting America’s separators of paper and plastic: The biggest buyer of the stuff doesn’t want it anymore.
. . . The U.S. is the top producer of waste, according to the World Bank, and Americans have been doing a pretty good job recycling some of that. Curbside-recycling volumes have tripled since the late 1980s, surpassing 89 million tons in 2014, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest figures.
What most Americans don’t know is that after workers pick up and sort their recycling, a good deal travels halfway around the world. The U.S. exported $16.5 billion in scrap last year, the scrap institute says, more than any other country. Paper and plastic were about $3.9 billion of that.
Over two-thirds of America’s wastepaper exports and more than 40% of its discarded-plastic exports ended up in China last year, the scrap institute says. Paper and plastic scrap exports to mainland China topped $2.2 billion—that’s more than exports to China of wheat, rice, corn, meat, dairy and vegetables combined, U.S. census data show.
In July, China filed a notice with the World Trade Organization about its plans to limit the entry of “foreign waste.” Even before that, starting this spring, scrap shippers say, some Chinese customers hadn’t been able to renew their import licenses.
Following Ford's announcement that it would shift more resources to electric cars, the United Auto Workers has begun talks with the automaker about the potential impact of more electric-car production on jobs.
. . . In a presentation to investors earlier this week, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said electric cars will reduce "hours to build" by 30 percent compared to internal-combustion models. If a car takes less time to build, the carmaker won't need as many workers. Settles said he has met one-on-one with Hackett to discuss the issue.
Investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are looking into business practices at Renovate America Inc., the largest provider of energy-saving home-improvement loans, according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Scott McKinlay, Renovate America’s chief legal officer, said in a statement that “we have been assured that Renovate America is not a target of an FBI investigation. We believe from our discussions with the FBI about its investigation of a contractor with whom we have done business that it is likely our company has come up in the context of those FBI interviews.” Renovate America is the largest lender in one of the U.S.’s fastest-growing loan programs known as Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. Private lenders in the PACE program team up with local governments to make loans to purchase solar panels and energy-efficient appliances.
Fresno City Council members say they’ve received complaints for years from residents and businesses about recycling centers operating from shipping containers in shopping center parking lots, providing a few cents in cash for each can or bottle that people bring in for redemption.
On Thursday, the council approved a new ordinance to seriously restrict how and where such recyclers – called CRV (California Redemption Value) recycling centers – can operate. The 7-0 vote is the first step toward final approval, most likely in two weeks. The law, sponsored by Councilmen Paul Caprioglio and Oliver Baines, would take effect 30 days after a final vote.
Once that happens, the law will effectively put 16 of Fresno’s 22 CRV recycling centers out of business within six months to a year. The centers are where people can get back the nickel that grocers charge for every can or bottle of soft drink, beer or other beverages that carries a California Redemption Value stamp.
. . . a Wall Street Journal analysis of tax data in 40 counties in California—by far the biggest market for PACE loans—shows that defaults have jumped over the last year. Roughly 1,100 borrowers missed two consecutive payments in the tax year that ended June 30, compared with 245 over the previous year. That means they are in default, and could potentially have their homes auctioned off by local governments within five years.