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Technical Report #19 - Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic ...

Technical Report #19 - Chelsea Center for Recycling and Economic ...

7. Wood Waste

7. Wood Waste SummaryMarkets accepting wood waste residuals within the state are limited and are destined toremain at the low end until manufacturing operations capable of using wood waste develop.The low-end markets are approaching a point of saturation, due in part to the availability oflow priced residues (Table 9).Table 9: Massachusetts Wood Waste Inventory (tons)Waste Stream Number of Tons / AnnumC & D Wood 1,188,000MSW Wood 523,000Tree Trimmings 1,049,200Total: 2,760,200Primary Processors 290,874Secondary Processors 225,000Note: Estimates of residues from primary and secondary processors should not be added to the 2,760,200since some of these residues would be included as MSW Wood.The pulp and paper industries' recent decline in demand for chips will create a surplus ofhigher quality material with little or no short-term marketability. Wood fuel prices willcontinue to decline with electric utility efforts to keep pace with deregulation and thecompetitive demand to produce lower cost electricity. Primary and secondary wood residuegenerators will face off with an overabundance of wood residues generated from the intenseeffort to recycle construction and demolition debris materials. This combined with escalatinglandfill prices will likely cause the deflation of wood residue prices within the state. Theintroduction of escalating fuel prices will deter companies from transporting residues as far asthey had previously.IV. TRENDS, VOLUME ESTIMATES, AND CHARACTER OF PLASTIC WASTE1. IntroductionSeveral excellent sources of information about supplies and types of recycled plastics inMassachusetts are readily available. Among these, “Massachusetts Strategic Recycling MarketDevelopment Plan Project,” prepared by Dorn and Associates in November 1998 is the most recentand comprehensive. This report does not attempt to duplicate the Dorn report, but ratherprovides additional commentary and insight.2. Overview of the Plastics Industry in MassachusettsIn 1996, the most recent year for which national statistics are available, the plastics industryemployed more than 1.3 million workers (a 26% rise since 1991) with sales in excess of14

$274 billion (a 55% rise since 1991). 5 The Massachusetts plastics industry while rather small insize is actually a strong twelfth among the 50 states, with over $8.5 billion in sales and 40,600employees. Employees and payroll by region are listed in Table 10.Table 10: Plastics Employees and Payroll by Region for Massachusetts in 1996REGION EMPLOYEES ANNUALPAYROLL(MILLIONS)Boston Area 5,631 $183 162North East Massachusetts 3,307 $125 67Central Massachusetts 8,980 $289 182Pioneer Valley Region 4,904 $174 89Southeast Massachusetts 2,539 $71 78Berkshire County Region 1,076 $34 21Source: Society of the Plastics IndustryFACILITIESDorn and Associates notes that there are 39 processors, reclaimers, and/or converters ofrecycled plastics in Massachusetts. According to the Chelsea Center for Recycling and EconomicDevelopment’s Directory of Recycled Products Manufacturers, about 1,300 jobs in Massachusettsare supported by these plastics recyclers. (See listing of plastic processors and recyclers inAppendix F.)Many plastics recyclers are secretive about quantities and types of plastics that they workwith. Many feel a strong need to protect their source of supply. There is little loyalty in this field,and someone offering only a fraction of a cent more for recycled materials will often get the purchaseorder or force the current buyer to match the competitor’s price. Brokers are especiallysensitive to protecting supplier and customer quantities and identities. Often brokers will go togreat lengths to ensure that the businesses they buy from do not know where the material is going,and to ensure that their customers do not know the identity of the business which originallyhad possession of the material.Some recyclers and brokers also cloud the issue of what is being recycled by claimingthat they have more quantity and variety than they can actually deliver. It appears they do notwant to miss any opportunities or let their competition know of any shortcomings, which makesassessment of the industry difficult.3. Pricing of Virgin Versus Recycled ResinsLike any commodity, the pricing of virgin and recycled plastic varies based on the lawsof supply and demand. Plastics pricing is also affected by capacity and crude oil prices. Recycledplastic costs also vary because of government mandates and buy recycled programs. Graphs 1through 3 show the historical pricing of virgin prime and high-quality, recycled, uncolored, pelletizedhigh density polyethylene (HDPE, SPI code #2), low density polyethylene (LDPE, SPIcode #4) and Polypropylene (PP, SPI code #5).5 Society of the Plastics Industry, www.socplas.org.15

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