China, the world’s largest buyer of recycled materials, stopped importing mixed paper and certain types of plastics that have dramatically lowered the price of recycled materials in the U.S.
The impact can be felt all the way to the local level. Local governments that collect recycling at homes are earning less after delivering it to recycling companies.
About 13 percent of what comes in cannot be recycled, including Styrofoam, clothes and electronics. Removing these items is critical to producing sellable recyclables.
To help North Carolina’s recycling plants sort and bring materials to market, recycle only clean and acceptable items.