As we’ve talked about on NLC.com several times over the last thirty days, China, which has been the destination of a lot of American recyclables, has put the U.S. on notice that they, China, will not being accepting a number of what were basic recyclables – especially plastics.
As it turns out, China is fully capable of making their own plastic products and they have more than they can handle. There is an assumption in the industry that if Americans would just clean their discarded plastic eating utensils, plastic bags, plastic household products, that there could be hope that our very convenient recycling relationship with China could vw salvaged. But current conditions seem iffy at best.
This is the basic picture that Dahl Sanitation near Toledo laid out for the Toledo City Council – just as North Lincoln Sanitation laid out for the Lincoln City City Council and Thompson Sanitation laid out for the Newport City Council. In Toledo recently, Dahl Sanitation officials reported that China has proposed a ban on receiving certain plastics and unsorted paper products. Terrible news for recycling. Dahl said they are getting the word out early and hope to have more information in January on how it affects all Dahl customers. They suggested that citizens should review the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality website for daily updates on the issue. The link is: http://www.oregon.gov/deq/mm/Pages/Recycling-Markets.aspx
Meanwhile one Dahl Sanitation official said that customers need to be careful to place only acceptable recycling materials in the cart. If a recycle cart is full of Styrofoam they will tag it and not pick it up. If they come back a second time and it is not rectified they will remove the cart.
The ride ahead may not be all that smooth. But at least it may get more clear sometime in early January. If China draws a line in the sand, America will have to recycle all of its own plastics. And for that the U.S. will have to turn on a dime unless we don’t mind filling up our current landfills and getting hammered with the high cost of creating new ones.