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Recycling task force focusing on near-term solutions to market changes in King County

Summary

A new task force developing a coordinated approach to improving recycling in King County has committed to working over the next several months to promote proper recycling practices and to discuss potential changes to the list of acceptable commingled recycling items.

Story

Responding to new rules China has put in place that restrict the amounts and types of collected recyclables that can be sent there for processing, King County and a coalition of cities, solid waste management companies, and others are exploring ways to ensure the well-being of regional recycling.

China’s recent policy is causing disruption to international recycling markets for mixed paper, mixed plastics and other materials. The policy is prompting the recently-formed “Responsible Recycling Task Force” in King County to evaluate changes in recycling behaviors to ensure that robust recycling continues in the region.

In its second meeting on June 1, task force members:

  • Discussed a more uniform approach to what materials should go in commingled recycling bins. Some materials that currently go in commingled bins, particularly plastic bags, can cause processing issues at material recovery facilities.
  • Committed to meeting until at least October, when the task force will produce a report detailing recommended short-term actions that solid waste management agencies and companies can take to respond to changes in the international recycling markets.
  • Established a communications consortium to develop consistent messages reminding the public to continue recycling because it is the right thing to do, and that simple practices, such as making sure materials are recyclable as well as empty, clean, and dry, are easy ways to recycle right.

For More Information, Contact:
Logan Harris, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-477-4516

About DNRP
The King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks works in support of sustainable and livable communities and a clean and healthy natural environment. Our mission is to foster environmental stewardship and strengthen communities by providing regional parks, protecting the region's water, air, land and natural habitats, and reducing, safely disposing of and creating resources from wastewater and solid waste.