Our View: Recycling industry changes mean small changes for residents too

December 31, 2018

It was less than a year ago that Lake Havasu City embarked on a massive expansion of its recycling program, working with Republic Services to ensure every Havasu home had a large bin to collect their paper, plastic and metal products, and overhauling pick-up procedures to accommodate the program.

By all accounts, it was a massive success —Havasu now recycles five times the amount it did last year at this time, according to Republic Services.

And it happened just in time to be affected by a new wrinkle that’s impacting recycling operations across America: Thanks to changes in China, where much of America’s recyclable products are sent, handlers in the U.S. are being forced to take a harder look at their operations. Basically, that means recycling companies are shifting focus from quantity to quality: It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to double or triple your intake of recyclable products when those materials are contaminated by grease or other materials. Those things end up in the landfill with the rest of Havasu’s garbage.

So it’s now up to residents, again, to make adjustments. Don’t just make assumptions about what should go in your recycle bin.

To ensure your recyclable waste is truly reused, make sure everything is emptied, cleaned and dried.

A surprising number of things can still be recycled, including all kinds of paper and cardboard products, plastics such as milk jugs, water bottles and shampoo bottles, aluminum and metal, and glass bottles.

It’s still important to be a good citizen and help keep our landfills from filling up too quickly, but if you have any doubts, the best idea is to throw it out.

— Today’s News-Herald

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