SCARBOROUGH — After a three-year “slump,” ecomaine, Scarborough’s waste management partner, said that pricing on recycled materials has been increasing on a monthly basis.

On Aug. 19, ecomaine reported that materials like mixed paper have been increasing since July of 2020. Ecomaine said:

  • From July 2020 to July 2021, mixed paper pricing has increased from negative $27/ton to $56/ton, or 307 percent.
  • During the same period, cardboard prices have gone from $51/ton to $146/ton.
  • Metal’s value has increased, as well; aluminum from $722/ton to nearly $1,200/ton, and steel and tin from $73/ton to $318/ton
  • And plastics have seen a significant upturn across all four categories of plastics processed by ecomaine

In January of 2018, China’s “National Sword” policy enacted, banning imported recyclable materials, said a release from ecomaine.

“(G)lobal markets saw significant challenges, particularly in the demand for post-consumer paper,” the release said. “Since then, investments in North American capabilities to accept and manufacture with recyclable fiber and plastic have created a significant uptick in demand for residential recycling.”

Ecomaine is “cautiously optimistic about the development, said Kevin Roche, CEO.

“This is welcome news for Maine’s recycling sector, and ecomaine’s communities who are benefitting from taking a long-term view during a challenging period in the markets,” he said. “We remain optimistic, but we will continue to plan for the future, as we have weathered recessions and global challenges before — and we will again.”

Scarborough residents can learn more about recycling at or

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