Resource-recycling.com — Chinese import restrictions and their ripple effects cut into recycling revenues for North America’s largest hauling companies, financial filings show.
The largest garbage and recycling companies in North America all experienced steep drops in their recycling businesses, largely because of falling commodity prices. In calls with investors, executives often cited lower prices for recovered cardboard and paper as driving the decline. That’s because those materials make up the bulk of weight handled by the companies.
But the publicly traded corporations also handle large amounts of plastic, generating bales sold downstream for further processing. For example, Waste Management handled 443,040 tons of scrap plastic in 2017, or more than 886 million pounds. Still, that was less than 3 percent of the recyclables it handled.
The following are 2018 recycling revenues for the largest five companies, from largest to smallest:
- Waste Management: $1.29 billion, down 10 percent from 2017.
- Republic Services: $298 million, down 5 percent.
- Waste Connections: $93 million, down 43 percent.
- Casella Waste Systems: $42 million, down 32 percent.
- Advanced Disposal Services: $18 million, down 45 percent.
All of the companies have also worked to protect themselves from commodity price risks by renegotiating contracts with customers and charging recycling fees.
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