China change on recyclables could impact Alaska communities

October 30, 2017

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — A policy change in China has officials in the Alaska panhandle city of Sitka anticipating a major change in the city’s recycling program.

China is the top purchaser of Sitka’s recyclables and advised the World Trade Organization in July that it planned to ban imports of 24 types of recyclables.

The city’s recycling contractor, Republic Services, has now put Sitka on notice that it might have to stop accepting mixed paper, plastics and cardboard as of Nov. 1, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported last week.

Mayor Matt Hunter said it appears that Sitka’s cardboard, paper and plastic can no longer be sold in China but that officials are waiting for final confirmation, which could come in early November.

“China’s government’s decided that China will no longer be the dumping ground for the planet,” Hunter said.

Republic Service also notified clients in Petersburg, Wrangell, Klawock, Thorne Bay and Ketchikan about the situation.

China’s policy change starts on Jan. 1, but the contractor said it would have to stop accepting mixed plastics and other recyclables by Nov. 1 because of the time it takes to ship them to China.

“It is prudent to now plan for a complete rejection of all mixed plastics and mixed papers,” said Matthew Pederson, municipal relationship manager for Republic Services.


Information from: Daily Sitka (Alaska) Sentinel, http://www.sitkasentinel.com/

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