China decides to ban some imported recycled materials from the U.S.
KEARNEY, Neb. —
Beijing will no longer be accepting some varieties of solid waste like paper and plastic recyclables from the United States starting in September.
The recycling of paper, plastic and glass is brought to the recycling center to be sorted, and then some of it is shipped to China.
The supervisor for the center said China's decision won't affect them too much.
"The City of Kearney, we've been recycling for about 25 years. Recycling has always been a very important part of what we do. Every time we recycle is a time that doesn't go into the landfill and we're very proud how Kearney has grown," said the City of Kearney Sanitation Landfill Supervisor Steve Hart.
Once the recyclable items are sorted, the recycle center then sells them to manufacturers in China to break down for use in things like toys.
"Resources are more scarce so there's always a need for used plastic or used cardboard. China continues to grow obviously and they're probably going to start buying recycling again but I think this is just a way for them to get better materials. I think it's very appropriate," said Hart.
He believes one of the reasons China wants to stop is because of the improper sorting.
"One thing with China and what they're trying to do is I'm not saying it's been a good thing but some recycling companies throughout the country will send product overseas that isn't all plastic. It might be mixed with other things," said Hart.
With China not paying higher prices for the recycled materials, some privately-owned recycling companies could be in trouble, but for Kearney that's not the case.
"We're kind of in a unique position being municipally operated. We do all of the garbage collection in Kearney also so when prices are down we are able to handle the recycling," said Hart.
Despite hearing about China's decision, one Kearney recycler is still adamant about helping the environment.
"I always recycled when I lived in town here, too, and we don't live in town anymore so we don't have a recycling can to fill up weekly. We try to do it at home still," said a recycler Angie Schroer.
Hart said for the future of recycling, if China continues to ban some materials, markets will be developed in the U.S.