Marion County announces recycling changes
Changes to your curbside recycling are imminent, with some plastics and other items no longer recyclable.
Marion County's reset of the program is due to the global recycling crisis caused by China's crackdown on imported recyclable materials, a press release stated.
"To put the problem in perspective, it's helpful to understand that China has for many years consumed over half of the world's recyclable materials," said David Lear, Mid-Valley Garbage & Recycling general manager, in the release. "However, a significant amount of the recycled material China was getting was contaminated with food waste, garbage, and other unusable materials."
As of Jan. 1, China made good on its promise to significantly limit the amount of material it imports from other countries. The ban created a major disruption in recycling and there is no excess capacity in worldwide recycling markets to absorb the material China no longer accepts. This leaves Marion County recycling processors, as well as other jurisdictions, with a lot of material and few markets.
Waste management service providers have identified a short list of materials for which there are markets, both global and domestic, the release said. The goal is to make sure that items that are recyclable are actually recycled and don't end up in a landfill in another part of the world.
Approved recycling items
1. Paper (newspaper, including advertisements and paper inserts; corrugated cardboard; magazines and catalogs; junk/direct mail; cereal, cracker, cookie and shoe boxes; and office paper (copier and printer paper, file folders, note paper, computer paper, brochures)
2. Metal (steel/tin and aluminum cans
3. Certain plastics (clean bottles and jugs with lids removed; 12 ounces or larger only of beverage bottles; soap, household cleaning solutions bottles; and jugs of milk, juice and detergent.
The press release warns against indiscriminately throwing things in the recycling cart without knowing if they're truly recyclable.
"This 'wishful' recycling is a part of the problem," the release states. "Cleaning up our recycling is a community issue that not only involves putting the right material in the mixed recycling roll cart, but making sure items are empty, clean and dry. When in doubt, throw it out."
The release said that customers will soon receive new recycling educational materials from their waste management provider.
"We hope to enable our customers to recycle items for which there are sustainable, accessible, and affordable markets -- now and into the future," said Brian May, Marion County Environmental Services Manager. "Marion County remains committed to protecting the health and welfare of our residents by providing environmentally sound solid waste management services."