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There's so much trash mixed in with our recycling that no companies in the U.S. will buy the material. China has been willing to buy the stuff that had no market in the U.S. in the past, but those days are over.

JARED RUSK, KCTVS9/EARTHFIX - Interns Audrey Taber and Crhistian Cuellar examine the contents of the recycling bins at Parkview Apartments in Auburn, Washington to find potential topics for conversation with residents.

Oregon regulators have received more than a dozen requests from companies that want to throw recyclable materials into landfills, and they're expecting more as China cracks down on waste imports from the U.S.

Oregonians love to recycle, so it makes sense that we're still putting paper and plastic into our recycling bins week after week.

"The problem is it has nowhere to go," said Julie Miller of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. "Recycling centers are filling up with material."

Until recently, China has been the world's largest importer of recyclable paper and plastic. Northwest companies depend on Chinese buyers to take a huge portion of what we put out on the curb.

But earlier this year, China announced a ban on these waste imports. That's leaving Northwest companies without buyers for recyclable items they've already collected.

So far, 14 of those companies have asked the state for permission to send it to landfills.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. To read the rest of their story, go to >

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