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Your Recycling Might End Up in a Landfill After All

Your Recycling Might End Up in a Landfill After All

Posted by : Mary Wutz   /  

“People are setting aside items for recycling because they believe or hope they are recyclable, even when they aren’t.”

Most of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States is committed to recycling and leaving a positive impact on the world. In most of these states, recycled plastics, paper, and glass are sent overseas to China in order to be broken down to be processed. Unfortunately, last summer China announced that it no longer wants to import foreign garbage. Since the first of the year, China has banned certain types of plastics and paper and is implementing stricter policies on other materials.

This means more items are being considered contaminated and being placed in landfills instead of being broken down. In the Pacific Northwest alone 2,000 tons of paper, that earlier could’ve been recycled, have ended up in landfills since the Chinese ban came into effect.

For some cities, officials took too long to notify consumers about these changes and consumers continued to throw the wrong items into their recyclables and are now angry because of this change. Some cities are even questioning if they should tell their citizens to simply stop recycling all together.

Encouraging an entire city to stop recycling would only disrupt the progress our country has made over the past decade.The problem with contamination didn’t just start when China imposed stricter recycling policies. Many Americans are very unaware of what is recyclable and what is not. The executive from Waste Management, says they have seen everything from christmas lights and bowling balls to animal carcasses try to be recycled in their facilities. These types of materials are not only damaging to the equipment, but contaminating to the recyclable components.

In order to stay on board with the progress of recycling around the United States, waste companies small and large need to begin informing the public about recycling procedures and rules. This not only will help us cut down on waste, but will encourage more people to begin recycling on their own.


Photo from The New York Times

For more information about recycling in the United States visit Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right?

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