US Recycling Industry Will Survive: Executives Say
Despite news articles about big jumps in recycling costs and program cutbacks, two nonprofit executives believe the US recycling industry will avoid life support. On the contrary, Environmental Leader reports that China’s ban on contaminated scraps presents new opportunities.
“We need to usher Big Waste out of recycling and let common sense and entrepreneurialism take over,” Neil Seldman and Peter Anderson wrote in an op-ed for Waste Dive. Seldman is co-founder of the sustainable community development nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Anderson serves as executive director of the Center for a Competitive Waste Industry, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization.
Their op-ed came after a slew of headlines predicting the effects of China’s policy banning certain types of solid waste as well as contaminated scraps.
According to the pair's article, "Big Waste" companies made a deliberate decision to disrupt the dual-stream recycling systems by convincing facilities to switch to single-stream recycling. This eventually caused contamination rates to increase and led to the Chinese import restrictions.
China’s new policy pushes domestic scrap-based processing and an evaluation of local recycling infrastructures.
For instance, CleanLink reported that Coca-Cola recently awarded $5.4 million in grants for community recycling pilot programs. One of the goals is to reduce recycling contamination.
The Coca Cola Foundation has given grants to a number of environmental organizations, including the Green Blue Institute in Orlando, Keep Houston Beautiful, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Foundation.
About $4.15 million of the funds is going to the Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit group that uses corporate funding to help develop recycling infrastructure. The Partnership is using those funds to help improve recycling in Atlanta.
The effort will begin in Atlanta with a "feet on the street" campaign that deploys city employees and temporary workers to check curb-side household recycling bins for contaminated items.
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