AOR Blog


If you're like most AOR members, you're feeling a little anxiety about the uncertainty of our recycling markets. China is experiencing our recycling as both a source of feedstock for manufacturing and pollution.

Looking to improve environmental conditions there, China has sent a strong message globally to recyclers and processors: clean up the stream. To show they mean business, they’ve stopped accepting materials, hitting mixed paper and mixed plastics markets particularly hard.  

There is a lot of uncertainty and unanswered questions right now - Is this a long-term shift? Will this mean the end of recycling as we know it? Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Why don't we make stuff anymore? Does this open the door to rebuilding domestic processing capacity here state-side?  

While we may not be able to keep calm and carry on, we can take a deep breath and know that we are all in this together, and we are going to get through this together, too.

There are bright spots here. As we all know recycling isn't the end game. It is a practice, when harmonized with reducing and reusing that is still a key component to environmental protection.

Many people still get lost in the quest for not sending stuff to the landfill. This mentality needs to stop. In order for recycling to work, we need to do two things: recycle right (yes, all you wishful recyclers need to stop throwing stuff in the bins with the "wish" that it gets recycled) and create/support/maintain a demand for post-consumer recycled content (aka: Markets).

The mentality we need to instill in our society is seeing recycling as the replacement of extraction feedstocks from logging and strip mining.  There is a great opportunity here to retune our programs and clean up our streams, and be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Recycling will always be here. But how and what we recycle may look differently down the road than it does today, and we have the opportunity in front of us now to shape the path we take.

Short term solutions: Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle right. Long term solutions: Create domestic markets for post-consumer recycled content feedstocks.

We all need to focus on these solutions in our local programs, conversations with friends and family, and our elected officials in order to rebuild our recycling systems locally and nationally.

AOR will host a forum on November 15th, America Recycles Day, to continue the Markets conversation, and I hope you can join us – Remember, we're in this together.

Forum Information:

Recycling Markets and Impacts of the National Sword November 15th, 2017 McMenamins Edgefield - Blackberry Hall, 2126 SW Halsey St, Troutdale, OR 97060
Click here for more information and to register:




Phil Torchino, founder of Bend area recycling company, The Broomsmen, challenges AOR members to match his BottleDrop donations to AOR.

Phil collected and redeemed over 2,335 bottles and cans in June and July with all the money going to AOR!

During the month of September, the AOR membership is hereby challenged to...


From the NWPSC August 2017 Newsletter
In a keynote address to the U.S. Product Stewardship Forum hosted by PSI (the Product Stewardship Institute), John Coyne of Unilever Canada and the Canadian Stewardship Services Alliance (CSSA) delivered a remarkable speech on extended producer responsibility (EPR), its importance to...


The conference planning committee will be kicking off in early September so now is your chance to let us know if you'd like to get involved! 

Putting the annual conference together is a team effort, and great way to be involved with and support AOR. There are many ways you can help, depending on your interests and...


Since legalization in 2014, Washington State's legal marijuana industry has generated over 1.7 million pounds of potentially compostable waste that is instead mostly being sent to landfills.

Read more at The Stranger, who reported the story.



Cascades, a Canadian based-multinational company specializing in tissue products with a big emphasis on using recycled materials, opened a tissue conversion plant in Scappoose, adding 80 jobs in rural Columbia County earlier this month.

Click here to read the full story and watch videos from Portland-based KGW news.