How small cities around the country are fighting to save recycling

31 Jan 2019

Solutions to preserve access and reduce contamination are emerging from municipalities, partners and citizen-led efforts in states such as Oregon, Virginia and New Hampshire.

Hardships caused by China's global recycling industry disruptions have been particularly acute in small U.S. cities and towns over the past year. But in the face of adversity, a number of them have devised solutions to keep recycling programs alive — at least to some degree.

While cities crunch the numbers and try to find economically feasible ways of retaining a recycling program — reverting to a depot drop-off system in lieu of curbside collection, for instance — citizens are also stepping up. From organizing parking lot glass recycling events to biking around town picking up material, local businesses and citizens are finding their own ways to contribute.

"This is the secret to success, looking at it from a grassroots, community-based level," said Laura Leebrick, community and governmental affairs manager for Oregon-based Rogue Disposal & Recycling.