Changes to state recycling leave certain counties sending materi - KPTV - FOX 12

Changes to state recycling leave certain counties sending materials to landfills or placing restrictions

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A challenging year for recycling in Oregon isn't showing much in the way of improvement with recyclers around the state either putting restrictions on what they accept or sending materials to landfills.

In Salem, Garten Services has been trying to adapt to China's recent decision to stop accepting post-consumer plastics and most other materials it used to buy.

"You can't stop the stuff from coming in, right? So our warehouse became unsafe. Completely full," Garten CEO Will Posegate said.

Garten and 21 other recyclers around the state requested and received permission from the Department of Environmental Quality to send materials that used to be shipped to China to the landfill instead.

According to the DEQ, those recyclers have off-loaded more than 10,000 tons, which is close to 6% of the total materials collected through curbside recycling.

"We've kind of hit a reset button. China has changed things," Kevin Hines, General Manager of the Mid Valley Garbage and Recycling Association said, which represents garbage haulers in Marion County.

Because of the changes to statewide recycling, Marion County haulers and recyclers have shortened the list of materials they'll accept through curbside collections. While milk jugs and plastic bottles are still accepted, plastic tubs and yogurt containers are not.

In the Portland and Tri-County area, however, recycling collections are unchanged, with recyclers still accepting plastic tubs and containers.

"We are working hard with local governments and the recycling industry to adapt and adjust to the market changes, but during that time, the most important thing people can do is stick to their commitment to recycling," Pam Peck, Resource Conservation and Recycling Manager for Oregon Metro said.

That's not to say the Portland area isn't feeling the pinch. Portland's City Council recently approved a $2.55 garbage rate increase that went into effect May 1st.

Additionally, one of the area's biggest recyclers, Pioneer Recycling, also got permission from the DEQ to send materials to the landfill, but the company's president said so far he's been able to find processors overseas to take the materials, albeit at a significant loss.

Crown Point Refuse and Recycling, which serves Corbett and Troutdale, recently sent a letter to customers informing them that all recycling would now be collected as trash.

Douglas County also made the decision to landfill its recycling, effective June 1st.

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