Changes in the Waste Management Industry Mean Changes in How We Recycle at Home

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 15, 2018 | Go to article overview

Changes in the Waste Management Industry Mean Changes in How We Recycle at Home


Byline: Village of Mount Prospect

Changes in the waste management industry are causing the Village of Mount Prospect to remind residents to recycle responsibly. Recycling has become a way of life for many Americans. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 34% of garbage is recycled. However, recycling as we know it is at a critical crossroads. The current recycling model is no longer sustainable or viable.

Several factors have led to the current situation. Low oil prices have made it cheaper to produce new materials versus using recyclables. Another factor is that recyclable items are manufactured with lighter packaging, requiring more items to make up a ton while also increasing recycling costs. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, China, which imported and processed more than 45% of the world's recyclables, passed a new law banning the import of plastic waste and imposing greater restrictions on the types of paper waste accepted. The result is that much of the recyclable material formerly processed in China now has nowhere to go, leaving waste management companies with a dilemma. Other countries have filled China's role to some extent, but their waste management systems are not as advanced as China's.

These shifts in the waste management industry are resulting in a complete overhaul in recycling methods and collection that are hitting close to home. The Village of Mount Prospect is asking residents to adopt responsible recycling habits. The biggest issue affecting consumer recycling today is contamination. More and more non-recyclables are finding their way into single-stream containers u things like plastic bags, organic matter (food, liquid and yard waste), rubber hoses, wires and low-grade plastics. These items contaminate recycling and can cause recyclable items to be landfilled. …

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