The recycling industry is struggling in the United States. According to a recent bulletin provided by Waste Management, until this year almost 30% of all recyclables from around the world were shipped to China, including 50% of the world’s recyclable mixed paper and plastics. China has implemented new aggressive environmental goals, which include establishing their own recycling programs, and on January 1st banned all mixed paper and mixed plastic imports. Additionally, due to the cost associated with separating contaminated materials from recyclable items, on March 1st China began enforcing a new 0.5% contamination limit on imported recyclables. Then on May 3rd China announced it had suspended inspections for all recyclables from the U.S., and because all loads must be inspected and certified, this means that no recyclables will ship to China from the U.S. for at least a month.
Due to these issues and the cost of separating contaminated items that have been placed in recycling bins, Waste Management has increased rates for recycling toters. The rate for the first toter per household will increase from $4.79/month to $6.90/month and the rate for subsequent toters per household will increase from $2.24/month to $5.00/month. These increases are still less than paying for a second garbage container, which is $10.99/month.
While customers have no control over China’s new policies, we can help improve domestic demand by reducing the number of contaminated items being placed in recycling toters. Click here to see the most common contaminants. Waste Management has created a number of educational materials on how to best use the recycling program and we will be sharing those with residents over the next several weeks, but wanted residents to be aware of the associated rate increases that will be coming in July. For more information on the recycling industry and for helpful materials on how to recycle, please visit recycleoftenrecycleright.com.