Raised recycling costs threaten Franklin County

Franklin County officials are facing a dilemma in regards to raising recycling costs, a crisis that is affecting communities on the national level.

The problem stems from the United States’ recycling relationship with China, explained Ned Parker, Conservation Director of Franklin County Conservation. China has accepted American materials to be processed and recycled in past years, but recently announced that they will be rejecting the U.S.’s recyclables if the nation doesn’t clean up their garbage—literally.

On average, 30 percent of the material sent to recycling facilities by American households is considered contaminated: made of unrecyclable material, containing food matter or other debris, or otherwise unacceptable by the facilities.

China has set its new contamination standard at 1-2 percent.

“Sometimes people don’t realize that they’re contaminating their recycling,” said Parker. “For example, a lot of people mean well by putting all of their recyclables into a garbage bag and then putting the garbage bag in the recycling bin. They don’t realize that the garbage bag is not recyclable. It’s a contamination.

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