Communities on Long Island and in Connecticut have been forced to change the way they collect recyclables.
China has cut back on buying the material from the United States because it doesn’t want to pay for recyclables that are contaminated with non-recyclable substances like food residue.
“With this current situation, China is really closing off most of its imports of recyclables from the United States. And this is not due to the potential trade war and tariffs. They’re just frustrated with quality and they’re saying, ‘No, we don’t want to buy this,’” said C.J. May, recycling coordinator for Waterbury, Conn..
Cailin Riley, a reporter with the Southampton Press on Long Island, said recycling facilities are scrambling to find new markets for their product and said their options may soon dry up.
“Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, India, they’re not going to say, ‘Sure, you can send us contaminated recyclables.’ They don’t want it either. ‘And if China isn’t going to take it, well then neither are we.’”
Riley said people in the industry say there’s a need to create a domestic market for these goods so that towns and municipalities won’t have to rely on other countries.