The world of recycling is going through a dramatic change that will affect all of us. Historically China has been the largest global importer of many types of recycling materials. In 2017, China announced dramatic changes for acceptance criteria of imported recyclables from 3% to only 0.5% contamination. In addition, China has stopped receiving shipments of mixed paper and plastics. Other countries importing recycling materials have been flooded with shipments leading to suspending additional deliveries. China’s policy changes have resulted in lowering recycling material value currently $5 per ton as compared to almost $100 per ton last year.
Domestic companies for collection, sorting, and shipping recyclables are scrambling to seek out solutions to the vast change in recycling. Increased operating cost for sorting facilities has led to some closures leaving collection companies with no choice but to landfill what was once a valuable commodity.
Republic Services will continue to collect recycling however, immediate actions will change how and what we recycle through the curbside collection service. Contamination in the recycling stream increases sorting time, damages recycling equipment and decreases the value of commodities. Understanding what can and cannot be recycled will help keep the recycling stream from contamination and keeps recycling sustainable.
Republic Services’ route drivers will be checking the contents of recycling carts prior to collection. Any contamination will result in a tag with instructions. Residents will be required to remove all contaminated recycling prior to being serviced on their next collection day.
Recycling experienced many changes within six months and will continue to change. Many recyclable items have already been sent to landfills. We must all make an effort to accommodate the changes to ensue recycling remains available. When we properly recycle, recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result the amount of rubbish sent to landfill sites decreases which reduces emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Empty, Clean, and Dry all Liquid and Food Containers
When in Doubt; Throw it Out
Milk and Juice Cartons. Aseptic Containers (Drink Boxes).
Glass Jars and Bottles
Yard Waste, Plastic Bags, Light Bulbs, Computers and Electronics, Needles, Syringes, Hazardous Waste, Paint, Toxic Material Containers, Aerosol Cans, Batteries, Food Waste, Mirrors, Ceramics, Stickers and Address Labels, Styrofoam, Tissue, Paper Towels, Napkins, Toys, Clothes, Textiles, and the like.
Reducing is easier than most people think and it makes sense. Do not purchase an excess of any item i.e. food, building material, paint, and other items. Look for other ways to reduce - join carpool, turn off a light, fix a leaky faucet, and borrow something you need to use from a friend.
Items can be reused when repaired, refurbished, or donated. Selling unwanted items can also reduce. The reuse of products when possible is even better than recycling because the items do not need to be reprocessed before they can be used again.