Commingled – or single-stream recycling – has been in place for many years and is growing in use. While this practice increases convenience for both the resident and the collector, and leads to increased recycling, it also has problems. These problems include recyclable streams being contaminated with other recyclable materials as well as garbage and other non-recyclable items being put in the cart. The challenges have been known about for many years and are documented in many articles. Today we are facing additional problems with recycling.
For years, China has been the dominant destination for the world’s recyclables, accepting more than 50 percent of the planets exported recyclable commodities. While these materials fueled China’s industries, they also created large amounts of waste and pollution, due to contamination in the recyclable materials. In 2017, the Chinese government announced that it was cracking down on the problem.
The new regulations, known as the “Blue Sky 2018” initiative, went into effect Jan. 1, 2018. Under the new rules, China has stopped accepting many recyclable commodities. They no longer allow the importation of low-grade post-consumer plastics (plastic codes 3-7) and unsorted paper (mixed waste paper). Beginning in March 2018, China also imposed a strict 0.5-percent limit on the amount of contamination allowed in imported recyclables.
The new restrictions have had worldwide repercussions, but the effects are being felt especially hard on the west coast and Washington State. Because of our proximity and ease of shipping, China is an even more important destination for our recyclable commodities than it is for other parts of the country.
We need to reconsider what we accept in our recycling programs. Given the challenges, it is time to reset recycling to ensure best and highest use of recyclable materials and maximize their market value. The purpose of this guide is to illustrate what an ideal commingled collection program would include with that focus. To see the new list click here.
City of Sedro Woolley
New Mixed Recycling List
YES: Accepted List
newspaper (including ads and inserts), corrugated cardboard boxes, direct mail, cereal, cracker, shoe boxes (chipboard), office paper (copier and printer paper), file folders, note paper, computer paper, and brochure, magazines & catalogs.
steel (tin) & aluminum cans (Clean, Empty & Dry)
plastic bottles - #1 PET & #2 HDPE - soda bottles, water bottles, milk jugs, orange juice bottles & jugs, detergent & cleaning solution bottles (Clean, Empty & Dry)
4. Glass: We are accepting it in the Mixed Recycling at this time. (Another option for glass: You can bring glass to our recycling site at 315 Sterling Street and recycle it there. We separate by color.)
If it’s not on the above list we cannot take it in the recycling program.
NO: Not Allowed
1. #3 thru #7 plastic items
2. Plastic bags & plastic film of all kinds
3. Flower pots
4. Paper milk & paper juice cartons
5. Aseptic packaging
6. Shredded paper
7. Hazardous & medical waste of any type
9. Fabric (textiles) of any type (clothes)
10. Wire, rope, chains, garden hoses & Christmas lights
12. Styrofoam of any kind
If in doubt throw it out! Put the trash in the garbage bin.
Throwing items in your recycling container that are not on the “accepted list” could result in extra fees & it may cause the entire truck load to go to the landfill. Please visit www.ci.sedro-woolley.wa.us for more details.