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BOS­TON ( AP) — Any­one who can’t make it to the moon to gather a few lu­nar rocks now has the op­por­tu­nity to buy one right here on Earth.

A 12- pound lu­nar me­te­orite dis­cov­ered in North­west Africa last year is up for auc­tion by Bos­ton- based RR Auc­tion and could sell for $ 500,000 or more dur­ing on­line bid­ding that runs from to­day un­til Oct. 18.

It is “one of the most im­por­tant me­te­orites avail­able for ac­qui­si­tion any­where in the world to­day,” and one of the big­gest pieces of the moon ever put up for sale, RR said.

The rock clas­si­fied as NWA 11789, also known as “Buagaba,” was found last year in a re­mote area of Mau­ri­ta­nia but prob­a­bly plunged to Earth thou­sands of years ago.

AL­BANY, N. Y. — Amer­ica’s re­cy­cling in­dus­try is in the dumps.

A crash in the global mar­ket for re­cy­clables is forc­ing com­mu­ni­ties to make hard choices about whether they can af­ford to keep re­cy­cling or should sim­ply send all those bot­tles, cans and plas­tic con­tain­ers to the land­fill.

Moun­tains of pa­per have piled up at sort­ing cen­ters, worth­less. Cities and towns that once made money on re­cy­clables are in­stead pay­ing high fees to pro­cess­ing plants to take them. Some fi­nan­cially strapped re­cy­cling pro­ces­sors have shut down en­tirely, leav­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties with no choice but to dump or in­cin­er­ate their re­cy­clables.

“There’s no mar­ket. We’re pay­ing to get rid of it,” said Ben Har­vey, pres­i­dent of EL Har­vey & Sons, which han­dles re­cy­clables from about 30 com­mu­ni­ties at its sort­ing fa­cil­ity in West­bor­ough, Mas­sachusetts. “Seventy- five per­cent of what goes through our plant is worth noth­ing to neg­a­tive num­bers now.”

It all stems from a pol­icy shift by China, long the world’s lead­ing re­cy­clables buyer. At the be­gin­ning of the year it en­acted an an­tipol­lu­tion pro­gram t hat closed its doors to loads of waste pa­per, met­als or plas­tic un­less they’re 99.5 per­cent pure. That’s an unattain­able stan­dard at U. S. sin­glestream re­cy­cling pro­cess­ing plants de­signed to churn out bales of pa­per or plas­tic that are, at best, 97 per­cent free of con­tam­i­nants such as foam cups and food waste.

The re­sult­ing glut of re­cy­clables has caused prices to plum­met from lev­els al­ready de­pressed by other eco­nomic forces, in­clud­ing lower prices for oil, a key in­gre­di­ent in plas­tics.

The three largest pub­licly traded res­i­den­tial waste­haul­ing and re­cy­cling com­pa­nies in North Amer­ica — Waste Man­age­ment, Republ i c Ser­vices and Waste Con­nec­tions — re­ported steep drops in re­cy­cling rev­enues in their sec­ond- quar­ter fi­nan­cial re­sults. Hous­ton­based Waste Man­age­ment re­ported its av­er­age price for re­cy­clables was down 43 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year.

“A year ago, a bale of mixed pa­per was worth about $ 100 per ton; to­day we have to pay about $ 15 to get rid of it,” said Richard Cou­p­land, vice pres­i­dent for mu­nic­i­pal sales at Phoenixbased Repub­lic, which han­dles 75 mil­lion tons of mu­nic­i­pal solid waste and 8 mil­lion tons of re­cy­clables na­tion­wide an­nu­ally. “Smaller re­cy­cling com­pa­nies aren’t able to stay in busi­ness and are shut­ting down.” Joan Cu­sack, ac­tress, 56 Emily Deschanel, ac­tress, 42


Ben Har­vey, an owner at EL Har­vey & Sons, a waste and re­cy­cling com­pany, stands on bun­dles of res­i­den­tial mixed fiber, com­prised of a va­ri­ety of pa­per and card­board, on Sept. 6 in West­bor­ough, Mass. The com­pany is cur­rently stack­ing and hold­ing onto about 2,500 tons of the ma­te­rial, which is await­ing a des­ti­na­tion where a re­cy­cler will process the bun­dles.

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