During the Construction & Demolition Recycling Association’s (CDRA) 5th biweekly conference call covering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the C&D industry, sentiment appeared grim among the group of recyclers who participated.
“We’re not expecting a normal summer. And we don’t know what to expect after summer,” the group concluded on the May 29 call.
With participants reporting tonnages being down roughly 50 percent to 80 percent from a year ago, the association says a return to normalcy depends a lot on how open a state is, especially for construction projects. For example, in areas such as New York City, construction has remained curtailed, which has slowed down the operation of the C&D recyclers in the city; however, work for the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Ohio never really slowed down, which has helped recyclers in that state.
According to the CDRA, the future is potentially the most troubling aspect following the pandemic. “As construction projects start up again, the flow of material is coming into the recycling plants. But these are from ongoing construction projects,” the association says. “What happens as those finish up? Almost all regions of the country are reporting that announced, but not started, construction projects are now being delayed or cancelled, which is why the recyclers don’t know what comes after this summer.”
Currently, the CDRA says recyclers are not reporting any reduction in tipping fee prices in their region, mostly because there is still action in the construction sector. But, the association warns of the possibility of a desperation for materials among recycling plants if there is a reduction in construction activity.
On the first pandemic call held by the CDRA on April 6, participants were concerned about collecting payment because of the slowdown in the economy. Although that turned out not to be a problem—as everyone said payments are still coming in regularly—some recyclers have had to relax their policies on accepting credit cards. “Sometimes it is just good to get paid,” the CDRA says.
On a final note, the association reminds C&D recyclers to meet social distancing guidelines. Whether that means skipping a spot in the picking line or staggering breaks and lunches, the CDRA advises all recyclers to take the necessary steps, as local boards of health will have the authority to shut down any operation not following these guidelines.
“…When these guidelines are followed, the recycling company can make the argument that the employees could be safer from the virus at work than they would be at home,” the association says.