Old news pays: Papers produce surplus
North Glengarry Township is in a great financial position and if you’re a regular reader of The Glengarry News, you may have played a small role in making it that way.
According to Craig Keen Despatie Markell LLP, the chartered accounting firm that did the township’s financial statements, North Glengarry ended the 2016 fiscal year with a total operating surplus of almost $540,000.
Township CAO Daniel Gagnon says this was largely due to cost savings in its recreation department and at its recycling plant, R.A.R.E.
It was R.A.R.E. that experienced the largest surplus -almost $152,000. Its General Manager, Linda Andrushkoff, says that’s because it saw a large and unexpected increase in fibre revenue.
“Fibre pricing (for cardboard and old newspaper) went up very high, higher than I’ve ever seen,” says Ms. Andrushkoff. “Fibre has always been a commodity but now it’s even more valuable.”
She says there are a number of factors behind this. One is that there is a shortage of old newspaper now that more readers are getting their news online. Another reason is that’s more demand for the product.
“China was buying a lot of the material but then domes- tic markets underestimated how much they would need, which created a price war.”
According to Ontario Market Price Trends, the cost of recycled old newspapers has risen steadily since about 2012. In June of 2016, old newspapers were selling for about $95 per metric tonne (it was $70 at the beginning of the year). In June of 2017, the going rate was $112 per metric tonne.
In 2016, the average price of old newspapers was $103 per metric tonne. The previous year it was $72. So far, 2017’s total stands at $126 per metric tonne, which means R.A.R.E. could be in even better financial shape next year.
The price of old corrugated cardboard has also been rising. In 2015, it was selling for $127 per metric tonne. In 2016, it was up to $152. Now, it’s $235.
Ms. Andrushkoff says that in 2016, R.A.R.E. sold 4,600 tonnes of processed and baled material. About 43.5 per cent of that was old newspapers and another 32.6 per cent was cardboard. The rest of the material was aluminum cans, plastic bags, and other items that R.A.R.E. takes in.
Despite the financial windfall R.A.R.E. realized through old fibres, Ms. Andrushkoff points out that fibre percentages are “continuing to fall as Canadians move from paper newspapers to on-line reading.”
She says that in 2010, old newspapers and cardboard accounted for 81 per cent of R.A.R.E.’s sales. In that same time period, plastics have increased from eight per cent to nine.
“That doesn't seem like much, but it doesn't tell the whole story,” she says. “Until about 2008 the average [drinking] water bottle weighed about 19 grams, in 2010 that weight dropped to less than 13 grams. In 2015, the average weight of a water bottle was 9.25 grams.”
Cardboard, newsprint increase in value