Oliver the dog

Keep Your Recyclables Clean!

Why? Because China’s new policies have dramatically reduced the amount of recycling it’s accepting. And it’s requiring much cleaner materials.

The U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half has been going to China. For decades, China has used recyclables to supply its manufacturing boom, but the boom has slowed and China now says that our recycling is contaminated  with too many non-recyclable materials, which prevents them from accepting our recyclables. (Contamination is when garbage or non-recyclable material is in the blue recycling cart). China is insisting that recyclables be much cleaner than what we’re currently sending from the RecycleSmart service area to our recycling processor.

Even though our recycling goes through a complex process of screens, blades, scanners, fans, air jets and magnets to sort and separate out all the non-recyclables and contamination, inevitably some non-recyclables slip through. It’s just not possible to meet that new standard without your help. To meet strict quality requirements in this new era of recycling, here are the top things you can do to reduce contamination in your blue recycling cart: 

  • Place recyclables in cart loosely (not bagged except for plastic bags) for easier processing. 
  • Wipe food residue out of plastic containers with a paper towel and put the paper towel in the green cart
  • Keep plastics and containers empty, clean and as dry as possible
  • Keep paper clean and dry
  • Toss food-soiled paper (like napkins and paper food boxes) into your green cart, not with other clean paper
  • Bag your clean and dry filmy plastic bags inside a larger plastic bag
  • And most of all…NO garbage in the blue cart!

Remember Empty, Clean and Dry!