Our recycling system is in a crisis. Last year, China stopped taking our recycling for processing, setting off a chain reaction of problems for the American recycling system. In New England and across the country, the cost of recycling for towns and cities is skyrocketing, forcing local governments to shift around their budgets, or worse, consider canceling their programs altogether.
Oregon may have a great reputation for recycling, but that doesn’t mean everyone is doing it right.
Numbers show an average of 25 percent of recycling in the United States is garbage, according to the National Waste & Recycling Association.
In the Portland metro, about 9 percent of what’s in a homeowner’s recycling bin is usually trash, according to Metro.
China’s ban on many recycled items is coming home to roost in Oregon but Curry County is faring well, said recycling coordinator Candi Wilk of Curry Transfer and Recycling, the company that provides trash and recycling services here.
Since the announcement China wouldn’t take more loads of contaminated material — or plastics marked with Nos. 3 to 7 — CTR has merely eliminated them from the items that can be recycled, as well.
We have all heard plenty about China’s Green Fence and National Sword. The policies have led to tight quality standards, limited import licenses, strict inspections – and major market disruptions.
About a quarter of respondents (26%) in a recent survey of 2,000 adults by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) feel recycling is more difficult than assembling IKEA furniture. Another 23% find recycling more complicated than completing a tax return, and 22% find it more complex than the stock market.
Plastic garbage from Trader Joe's and an AARP card are peeking out of hillocks of plastic trash piling up in Indonesia.
It's a sign of a new global quandary: What should wealthy countries do with their plastic waste now that China no longer is buying it?
Metro Council voted to approve a plan that will shape the way greater Portland manages the garbage and recycling system for the next 12 years – including everything from the way products are made to how to shape jobs in the industry.
The 2030 Regional Waste Plan is the fourth such plan that Metro has crafted — a process it goes through roughly once a decade.
“Residential recycling is broken” was a common refrain noted from all the speakers of the plenary session at the Southeast Recycling Conference (SERC), which took place Feb. 24-26 in Orlando, Florida. Three industry leaders opened up the conference during its plenary session, including Chaz Miller, president of Miller & Associates, Bill Caesar, chief executive officer at Houston-based Waste Corporate of America (WCA) and Amy Boyson, community affairs manager at Waste Management.
City officials in Tacoma, Washington, have announced several proposals to change its recycling program. The city currently offers curbside recycling service to residents, multifamily tenants and commercial customers.
However, the city reports in a news release that “the majority of Tacoma’s recyclables are sold overseas, mainly in Asia, where countries have adopted strict policies regarding material quality. Materials that do not meet the requirements are rejected.”
The Recycling Partnership has a lot of great resources to help promote your recycling programs, and get information out to your communities.
Even better, they moderate a closed Facebook group specifically for waste diversion and recycling professionals to help share resources and ideas amongst your peers. Check out their tools below!
From The Recycling Partnership:
Looking for grab and go resources for your social media pages? We’ve got ‘em.