The Associated Press reports that prices for recycled materials are plummeting.
Aluminum should do the best, since it is so energy-intensive to produce, but even that market has dropped:
Cardboard that sold for about $135 a ton in September is now going for $35 a ton. Plastic bottles have fallen from 25 cents to 2 cents a pound. Aluminum cans dropped nearly half to about 40 cents a pound, and scrap metal tumbled from $525 a gross ton to about $100.
Meanwhile, after thirty years of being told that "Recycling is Good," people and municipalities are still doing it. Sometimes they wind up "upside-down":
In Washington state, what was once a multimillion-dollar revenue source for the city of Seattle may become a liability next year as the city may have to start paying companies to take their materials.
Another recycler had a similar complaint for the New York Times:
“We’re warehousing it and warehousing it and warehousing it,” said Johnny Gold, senior vice president at the Newark Group, a company that has 13 recycling plants across the country. Mr. Gold said the industry had seen downturns before but not like this. “We never saw this coming.”
And when that happens, the cynics who just want to beat up on environmentalists go, "See, we told you! Nyah nyah nyah."
Municipal programs can't be switched off and on with the market, so I doubt that they will stop. As one commercial recycler said,
"It's going to be bleak for a while," he said. "We can just make our piles taller, and hopefully by spring, things will be a little better."