Changing Recycling Rules Reveals What is Truly Recyclable.

15 Oct 2018

From the Salem Weekly

Marion County residents filled their mixed recycling carts with the expectation that everything inside was put to good use as new products.

But China’s demand last winter that our recyclables not be contaminated with trash revealed the truth: our mixed recycling carts are not a recycler’s gold mine. To find the items that can actually be recycled, you have to sort through a lot of garbage.

“Our image as good recyclers came crashing down,” said Alan Pennington, waste reduction coordinator for Marion County. “To be good recyclers, we have to be careful about what’s put in the recycling cart–not just fill it. It might have been easier in the past, but it was a fantasy.”

So now Marion County residents–like folks around the state–are grappling with a new, stricter set of rules around the mixed recycling cart. Recycling processors have already seen improvement. But it needs to get significantly better before China would consider buying our recyclables again.