MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Cooper-Young recycling center is set to close at the end of the month, but shortly after, it will reopen in a new location under new management.
The recycling center currently located at First Congregational Church is operated by ReCommunity, a division of Republic Services, Inc. They say changes in the recycling economy will force them to stop maintaining the site at the end of March.
China enacted a policy last year that mandates recycling contamination at 0.5 percent, but the United States’ recycled materials are generally around 30 percent contamination, meaning about one in three items in a recycling container is not recyclable.
“Unfortunately, the changes to the recycling market have led to much lower prices for recycled material,” a Republic Services spokesperson said. “The value of that material used to cover the cost of collecting and processing it. But now the value has dropped by half, on average. That’s led to some difficult economic decisions.”
One of those cuts was to the Cooper-Young recycling center. But because of support from the community, the center won’t be gone for long.
Janet Boscarino, executive director of Clean Memphis, said another recycling center will come near the Cooper-Young area shortly after the current one closes.
The new center will be operated by the City of Memphis, so it can be managed within the city. She said it costs about $80,000-$90,000 to manage the site.
Boscarino said the new site will have enhancements and education materials that the old site did not have, and she is glad the area will not lose its recycling center.
“It’s very heavily utilized,” Boscarino said. “There was definitely concern about what will happen to it and definite interest in keeping it in that area.”
She said she is not sure where or where the new location will open, but she said it won’t be too long after the current one shuts down.