recycling handshake / emin_kuliyev, ShutterstockThe National Waste & Recycling Association (NW&RA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) are providing recommendations to materials recovery facilities and municipalities to help them accurately track changing recycling streams and fluctuating market prices.

The groups released two shared position pieces. The documents, addenda to their April 2015 Joint Advisory on Designing Contracts for Processing of Municipal Recyclables, aim to help industry entities keep up with the evolving ton and changing commodities values, particularly when crafting new contracts.

The first document, “Understanding Material Composition-Stream Composition Study,” explores the use of recycling stream audits to inform the drawing up of contracts. The addendum touches on both pre-contract audits and routine audits, and it provides advice on how to conduct them.

The second document, “Methods of Determining the Value of Recyclables Handled at a Processing Facility,” touches on calculating actual sales values versus indexed sales values as well as ways of reflecting those values in contracts. It also discusses how to arrive at the blended value of a ton of recyclable materials.

“These supplements to the original advisory come at an important time, as recycling and commodity prices have stabilized after last year’s decline, and local governments and processors need guidance on understanding what’s in their recycling stream and methods for determining the value of the materials,” said David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO.

The private sector processes more than two-thirds of the recycling stream in the U.S. NW&RA has been advocating for smarter practices that make the group’s membership stronger in the face of challenges in current markets, said Sharon Kneiss, president and CEO of NWRA.

“This latest addendum to our contracting guidelines is a key element of our continuing efforts – with SWANA – to take into account the dramatic fluctuations and downturns we have seen in the commodities markets and ensure that recycling programs are viable and thrive for both the private and public sector,” she said. “This is an important tool – which has been in development for quite some time – to help ensure that recycling remains a sustainable service that can adjust to the changing recycling stream and is not reliant on the profitability of commodity sales.”