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The price of some plastics has fallen so much that recycling companies are stopping collection. ((CBC))

The global economic crisis is hurting a new sector of the B.C. economy: recyclers.

Mairi Welman of the Recycling Council of B.C. says prices are dropping and the market is drying up for materials like plastic and scrap metal, which means the companies that recycle waste are having to rethink how they do business.

"For certain materials, there is no market, so people who are collecting the recyclable materials just can't sell it to anyone," Welman told the CBC.

Some goods are fetching only a third of the price they did in September; some recycling companies are laying off workers and others have stopped collecting certain types of plastics altogether.

Welman said the recycling council is holding a special meeting on Thursday with industry members to brainstorm about what to do next.

"It could be everything, from Metro standing firm on the landfill bans, maybe even changing their tipping fees at the landfill so that it's more of a level playing field," she said.

"Or it could be Ministry of Environment or even more senior governments getting involved and helping to open up new markets, or provide storage," said Welman.

Local impact

The shrinking global demand has already hit one small B.C. community just north of Vancouver.

Bill Carr of the Bowen Island Recycling Society said he's had to ask islanders to stop dropping off their mixed plastics like yogurt containers for recycling after the company told him last week it can't take any more.

"We've been asking, please could you hold onto the plastics, in your garage or at home or whatever until the situation changes and we can again start passing along the plastics we collect," Carr told the CBC.

"It would seem that the global economy has impacted Bowen Island now," said Carr.