Old news pays: Pa­pers pro­duce sur­plus

The Glengarry News - - News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

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

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