GREEN
04/13/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Recession Could Kill Recycling

Sustainability may be the new buzzword, but one of its most well-established routes--and an industry that has, against all odds, trained millions of Americans to rethink waste--is under threat.

Like other industries, recycling is reeling from the recession. But its dependence on the commodities market, which bottomed out last fall, and its relative newness have made its sudden turn for the worse unprecedented. For the three quarters of Americans who recycle, that means the feel-good factor of dragging a plastic bin to the curb each week could be endangered--not to mention the process's environmental and long-term economic benefits.

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