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Why is recycling as we know it changing?

What do plastic grocery bags, used coffee cups, pizza boxes and Styrofoam have to do with a rapidly changing recycling landscape? They lead the list of things typically found in the recycling cart that can’t, in fact, be recycled.

Historically 40% of all recyclable materials from the United States go overseas, with half of that going to China alone. But as of January 1, 2018, China made it clear that it no longer wanted recyclables with any contaminants mixed in, effectively closing their markets. Now those contaminated recyclable materials have no place to go — so they often end up in landfills nationwide. It’s a problem with no single — or easy — solution.

This short Oregon Public Broadcasting video does an excellent job of giving you an easy-to-understand, straightforward look at issues and challenges facing curbside recycling here in Oregon and globally.

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