Help Sought to Keep Recycling Clean

Mason County, the City of Shelton and Mason County Garbage are asking residents to help keep garbage out of recycling.

Due to new environmental policies, China banned the import of many recyclable materials on January 1, 2018, and lowered the contamination rate for recyclables not covered by the ban to 0.5%. Most of the recycling materials from the West Coast have been sold to China for many years. The new policies have reduced the amount of recycling materials sold to China and resulted in commodity prices dropping to a negative value. Material recovery facilities have scrambled to find new markets to accept the recycle materials and have instituted new machinery and procedures to clean recycle materials to a low contamination percentage.

There is continuing market uncertainty even for materials not covered by the ban. China is now conducting strict inspections of recyclables at U.S. facilities. Even materials that meet the new 0.5% contaminant threshold will still be rejected if any banned material is found. For example, an entire allotment of 10 or more shipping containers will be disallowed if a single bottle with dried juice inside is found during an inspection of materials that otherwise meet the 0.5% threshold.

Recycling programs are being re-evaluated across the United States. In Washington State, Counties and Cities are seeing substantial impacts to their recycling programs. The increased costs and related problems are resulting in closures of facilities, elimination of collecting certain recyclables, and landfilling of contaminated recyclables.

Mason County, the City of Shelton, and Mason County Garbage are committed to providing recycling opportunities to our customers through City of Shelton and Mason County curbside services, commercial recycling services, and the Mason County Blue boxes located at each transfer station. Your providers want to continue to provide the level of service that Mason County residents have come to expect but they need your help in reducing the contamination percentage of our recyclables.

Please review the web pages at http://www.masoncountygarbage.com/residential for how to prepare your materials and accepted materials for each of these services. Blue box information is available at http://www.co.mason.wa.us/health/environmental/solid-waste/index.php. Source separation of recyclables from garbage is the first step. Recyclables must also be empty, clean, and dry. If you do not know whether
something can be recycled, throw it in the garbage. WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!