Since January, Much of America’s Recycling Has Ended Up in Landfills
When you put recyclables in your recycling bin, you assume they’re being recycled responsibly. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. New research shows that much of your recycling is actually ending up in landfills – or worse, in oceans.
As reported by the Huffington Post, America is “in the midst of what one official calls an ‘unprecedented’ recycling crisis.”
“Americans recycle millions of tons of trash every year,” explains the Huffington Post. “We trust that the items we toss in the blue bin won’t end up in a landfill. We hope this stuff is repurposed and turned into reusable goods ― but a lot of it isn’t getting recycled at all.”
This recycling crisis is relatively new. For years, most states in America efficiently recycled their paper, plastic, and other goods.
Unfortunately, things have changed over the last few months.
“For months, mountains of plastic, paper and other materials have been piling up at recycling facilities across the nation.”
In response, entire cities have been forced to scrap their recycling programs. Sacramento, California, for example, has significantly reduced its recycling program, forcing residents to throw recyclable items in the trash.
In other states, waste management companies have resorted to dumping recyclable materials into landfills.
America’s Recycling Crisis Started in January When China Stopped Buying Our Recyclables
America’s recycling crisis began in January when China stopped accepting imports of recyclable waste.
Yes, much of America’s recyclables ended up in China. China had been buying America’s recyclable goods for decades. Every year, we – along with other countries around the world – were shipping massive amounts of recyclable plastics, paper, cardboard, and other materials to China.
China needed a steady supply of recyclable materials to feed its manufacturing sector, while countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, the UK, and Japan lacked the recycling facilities and manpower needed to process large amounts of recyclable goods. That’s why China would actually pay these countries for their old recyclables.
Last summer, China suddenly announced plans to stop buying waste and recyclables from other countries. Starting in 2018, China would no longer import 24 categories of solid waste and recyclable materials.
Today, the only recyclable materials China accepts are cardboard and scrap metal with 0.5% contamination from food and other sources. American recyclers claim this standard is “impossible” to meet.
The end result is a problem that needs to be solved: nobody has the recycling capacity that China has, but now China isn’t sharing that capacity with the world.
Local Counties Have No Choice But to Allow Recyclables in Local Landfills
Every state in America is being negatively affected by the Chinese recycling ban. Certain states, however, have been more heavily affected by the Chinese ban than others. Pacific coast states like Hawaii, California, Alaska and Oregon, for example, have all been “heavily” affected by the recycling ban.
However, the effects have also been felt in other states – North Carolina and Massachusetts, for example, have been heavily hit by the recycling ban.
Since January, these states have watched recyclable materials pile upin local facilities. Unable to sell to China, waste management firms are stuck with mountains of recyclable materials – and the problem continues to get worse.
The big problem is that many states have laws forbidding companies from dumping recyclables into landfills.
However, these states have been forced to grant waivers allowing firms to dispose of recyclable materials – even if they have to dump them in landfills.
That’s why a growing number of waste management companies across the United States have been dumping recyclables in landfills. Thousands of tons of paper, cardboard, and plastic has been ending up in America’s landfills from Oregon to New Hampshire.
Recycle Responsibly with a Good Waste Management Company
A good waste management company helps you recycle responsibly. Make sure your recyclable items end up being recycled.
Work with a waste management company like Eagle Dumpster Rental. You can trust that your items are being recycled efficiently. In addition to offering dumpster rentals, Eagle Dumpster Rental offers full-service waste management solutions across southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.