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What’s the future for recycling?


More and more cities across the country are cutting recycling because it’s getting too expensive.

The city of Casa Grande already got rid of its program, and the city of Surprise is now putting recyclables in landfills. Republic Services brings recyclables from cities like Mesa, Scottsdale and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to its plant.

“They get sorted on the various pieces of machinery and get sent to our partners across the United States, some overseas, and then they’re made into new products,” said Stephen Herring with Republic Services.

The EPA says recycling reduces pollution and saves energy, but some cities say it’s just too much money.

Products like toys and toilet paper are often made from recyclables. If people stop recycling the cost of those goods could go up for consumers.

Herring said another issue is people are recycling what’s called contaminated items.

“Think of a ketchup bottle,” said Herring. “When you go to dispose of it, if it still has ketchup on the inside, that’s gonna be a contaminated material.”

Herring said, China, which buys recyclables, recently began requiring an extremely strict contamination rate.

“Essentially the rules for contamination have changed from five to seven percent to less than one percent,” said Herring.

When you recycle wrong, the plant is forced to move items to the landfill.

Many plants also lose money on some recyclables like glass.

“It’s another material that is just so accessible, and the cost of actually recycling it outweighs the value of that material,” said Herring.


Original story from azfamily

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