Skip to comments.Clifton-based recycler abruptly closes its doors, lays off 100 workers (New Jersey)
Posted on 09/07/2014 10:56:13 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Green Sky workers being told that the recycling plant is closing.
A prominent Clifton-based recycling company abruptly closed its doors on Friday, informing more than 100 employees that they had worked their final day while dozens of North Jersey towns scrambled to forge temporary arrangements with other collectors.
Green Sky Industries, which promoted itself as the states largest private recycler with 75 municipal contracts, many in Bergen and Passaic counties, announced in a letter to towns on Thursday that it was shutting both of its plants, in Clifton and Carteret in Middlesex County. The companys Clifton employees on Friday were given their final paychecks and a note on a quarter sheet of paper that explained the closure as a result of declining business conditions.
James Escudero, 61, of Paterson after the news.
Richard Biondi II, the operations manager, said he learned about the closure early Friday. He paced back and forth outside of an office, sweat running down his face, before he went to break the news to the plants 76 workers at the end of their shift.
Im fighting back the tears, he said.
After the announcement, office manager Mary Baez walked to her car with her niece Nilda Quinones, an office clerk. Tears welled in her eyes as she searched for the white paper slip that told her that time had ended.
We regret the suddenness of this decision and thank you greatly for your service to the company, the note said.
Company executives did not return emails or phone calls seeking comment on Friday. The closure was preceded by other layoffs, late payments to some towns and complications with China, a major importer of recyclables that last year rejected large quantities of material from U.S. companies because they contained too much regular trash.
Green Sky was a proponent of single stream recycling that permits residents to combine paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic into one container, rather than separating them. The process is designed to entice more residents to participate in recycling, and has become popular in Bergen County in recent years.
The Chinese crackdown, called the green fence, put financial pressure on companies such as Green Sky that purchased shipments from towns, separated the waste and then sold it to China. The green fence policy has since been discontinued.
The companys closing will come at a cost for several towns in Bergen and Passaic counties, where officials searched for alternative collectors in a hurry. Westwoods borough administrator, Bob Hoffman, said the borough already had made arrangements with a company it contracts with to pick up recycling. But that outfit pays less for the materials than Green Sky, he said.
The revenue will be less, but it will be revenue, he said.
Charles Cuccia, the Little Falls township administrator, said the town was preparing to declare an emergency so that it could select the second company from last years list of bidders to temporarily take in its recycling. Meanwhile, he said, the township attorney is trying to recoup about $80,000 Green Sky owes the township for materials it collected from December through this month.
The recycling coordinator in South Hackensack, which collects recycling on Tuesday, spent most of Friday morning looking for a substitute, said Donna Gambutti, the township clerk. The town found a company, but Gambutti said she did not have details about the price difference.
This was like a shock, she said.
Passaic County Solid Waste Coordinator Nina Seiden said the closure was bad for municipalities because there would be less local competition in the industry.
Its always a shame when one of your prominent markets is no longer there, she said.
Competing recyclers seized the moment to drum up more business. Bill Lehman, a waste manager for Greenstar Recycling in Paterson, said on Friday that the company has received calls from towns in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Morris counties following Green Skys announcement.
Were telling folks, You can bring it to us, Lehman said. We do have capacity. Were accommodating everybody that calls.
Baez, Green Skys office manager, said she suspected things were going badly in recent months. Other workers estimated close to 30 employees had been laid off in the past six weeks.
Weve been losing a lot of customers but I didnt know it was going to be this bad, she said. I was still hoping and praying that this was going to get better.
Baez said she felt totally betrayed, and a visit from the company owners would have been better than a slip.
Maybe a courtesy call? she said. Theyre claiming they didnt know nothing until yesterday at 3 oclock.
Have a nice day!
did the government subsidies end?
I suppose there wasn’t enough mobsters to recycle as in the past.
Some town officials say they can use other companies but will receive less on their trash. Sounds like it should have been possible for this company to renegotiate some contracts if there was a legitimate reason, like the China problem. Could there have been some misfeasance or malfeasance going on? Visits to Atlantic City casinos? Mafia rake offs, etc? This is New Jersy.
Joisy is like Detroit but with Italians
So what they’re saying is the people who were supposed to sort the trash were doing a piss-poor job of it so they “lost” a customer? What did they expect, exactly?
The article barely touched on the problem, which it says is now ended. China, the recipient of the waste, believes the waste is mixed with non-recyclable waste.
Essentially, we are sending our waste to China for recycling. I submit that’s because it makes no economic sense to recycle the stuff here. If it makes no sense to do it and we must rely on essentially slave labor in another country that we should end recycling.
The only thing that it ever made sense to recycle was aluminum.
I'm beginning to have doubts about aluminum. We recently took in 115 lbs. of aluminum. At $.62 per lb. our two kids made some spending money but I'm now doubting if it was worthwhile. That volume takes up a lot of storage space and it took about two years to accumulate.
That price varies, a couple of years ago when we recycled some, it was around $.45 per lb.
Bizarre concept to me, that the company had to pay anything for raw trash.
FWIW the one advantage to recycling aluminum is the energy difference. It takes less than 10% of the energy to get a pound of aluminum from cans as it does from bauxite.
That was one of the reasons that a lot of the aluminum industry was in the Pacific Northwest years ago, cheap hydro electricity.
Yea and I understand about the volume deal all to well.
In the early to mid 90s I worked for a small plastic recycling company. We reground pop bottles and milk jugs for re-use. We also worked several other plastic streams and some cardboard as well.
The markets at that time were very volatile with pricing swings of several hundred percent not uncommon over several months.
And yes even then the Chinese were a big player in the recycling business. I saw clear #1 PET, pop bottles, go from a dime a pound to over fifty cents a pound in about 3 months and drop back down just as fast. Same price swing happened with cardboard. Cardboard went from $50 a ton on the spot market to over $200 a ton in a few months held that price for the summer and dropped down to $40 a ton in the matter of a month around October.
A quick note on quality if I may. One of the big uses for Clear #1 PET at that time was in making carpet!!! Our company would fill cardboard boxes of roughly 2 cubic yard capacity with about 1000 pounds of reground pop bottles. And it only took about 4 or 5 vinyl bottles to ruin that box of reground pop bottles. Ship out a load out 40 boxes or so and if the buyer found more than 2 or 3 boxes with vinyl in them and we either had to pay to dump the load or have it sent back to us.
I could see where if the Company in New Jersey was in a cash bind and prices kept dropping they were forced to call it quits.
I have to disagree with you. I supplement my income with scrapping any steel,copper and aluminum ...old stoves/refridgerators/hot water heaters etc.... I average anywhere from 75.00 to 250.00 dollars per trip. It is economically viable to melt down existing steel than go from gathering the ore and completing the cycle. Most people seem to think it is beneath them to perform such a task (from what I see)...I look upon it as money just lying around and with a little effort its in MY pocket...cash on the barrel head with no taxes ...
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