Tanking metal prices causing booming businesses to bust

By: Ashley Jeffery Email
By: Ashley Jeffery Email

News 12 @ 6 o'clock -- December 22, 2008

AIKEN COUNTY, SC -- Packing and crushing aluminum aluminum cans is all the work Bull's Recycling owner Warren Settles has left. He says the drastic drop in metal prices has left his normally busy business unusually quiet.

"It's been slow lately, business been cut way in half. Now it's getting down lower and lower. People say they're stopping recycling because the price is down real low right now," said Warren Settles.

Warren says the prices have dropped so low he can't pay out what some customers may be expecting.

"For aluminum cans we used to pay during the summer, seventy-five cents to eight cents a pound, now they're down to twenty-five cents a pound," said Settles.

But that's not all, the cost of steel dropped from about $12.00 to $4.50 and the price of copper is down from $3.00 to just about $0.80.

Warren says the price of metal has dropped so much that people are finding other options to getting rid of their recyclables.

The Aiken County recycling drop-off center in belvedere say they've seen about a 20 percent increase in scrap metal.

"We would have very few pieces on the yard, now the yard is filled very quickly,"said Heyward Cotton.

He says ever since prices started falling and more people started coming in; they have to now get metal removed twice a week rather than every other week.

But that's not the case for Warren, he says it's getting bad on the business, and it's about to shut everybody down. He says if things don't turn around soon, it could mean even more trouble for him and his family.

"It's going to be hard. If I have to fold, I'll have to try and find something else to do,"said Settles.

Warren says there's a small upside to all of this. He says since the prices have dropped, so have the number of thefts involving copper and steel products. But he hopes the prices do go back up so he can stay in business.

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