It’s been difficult for some recyclers to remain hopeful amid the current market environment, which is characterized by oversupply and low prices. That situation affects virtually all forms of scrap, including recovered fiber and plastics, which have been hit heavily by import bans or restrictions in China. It also affects copper and aluminum scrap, which have not only faced the Chinese import restrictions but also escalating tariffs as the U.S.-China trade war wears on.

However, as this month’s Cover Story, “Hope on the horizon,” beginning on page 38, and the Paper Commodity Focus, “Working through the worst of times,” beginning on page 48, illustrate, hopeful signs are present. Recycling Today’s staff also has attempted to highlight the opportunities that are available for recyclers in developing programming for our 2019 Paper & Plastics Recycling Conference, which is Oct. 23-25 in downtown Chicago.

Pratt Recycling’s Shawn State presents during Mixed Fortunes, a session that examines the future of mixed paper and the development of consuming destinations for this recovered fiber grade. State is joined by Bill Moore of Atlanta-based Moore & Associates, Dan Kurtz of Toronto-based Waste Connections and Bill Keegan of Shakopee, Minnesota-based Dem-Con Cos.

“Join us in Chicago for a program designed to help recyclers find solutions to some of their most pressing problems.”

We focus on the future demand for brown grades and containerboard in the Containerboard Dynamics session. Speakers in this session also address capacity additions that are planned for the U.S. and global markets.

Additionally, the conference addresses growing domestic demand for Nos. 3-7 plastics and film in the session Hungry for More Plastics. In that session we hear from Hendrik Dullinger of California-based PreZero U.S. Inc. and Eadaoin Quinn of Toronto-based EFS Plastics Inc. as they discuss their procurement plans for these materials as they ramp up their production capacity in North America. Greg Johnson of Evergreen Plastics speaks about one of the mainstreams of recycling programs, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and his company’s supply needs.

We also tackle the topics of automation in material recovery facilities and how certain modifications can help recycling programs remain sustainable—and profitable—heading into the new decade.

Don’t spend time focusing on the negative; join us in Chicago for a program designed to help recyclers find solutions to some of their most pressing problems. We hope you join us to add your voice to the conversations taking place.