The drop in oil prices has made the price of recycled plastic, a petroleum-derived resource, decrease by almost 50% in recent months. Most US recycled plastic is sold to China, where it is used to make items such as carpet, toothbrushes and fleece. However, manufacturers can now source virgin polymers, with the exact chemical composition they need, for less than US-imported recycled polymers.
As of March, the cost of new plastic has fallen, and now costs approximately 7% less than recycled forms, meaning that recyclers are no longer able to profit from sales of recycled polymers. Plastic bags, which are particularly expensive to process, have stopped being recycled by Waste Management, the largest US recycling company.
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