Tucson Begins Monitoring Recycle Bins for Prohibited Materials Latest News

The sorting fee is due to a policy change in China, which used to include most of the world’s recyclable materials.

In January 2018, the country enacted its “National Sword” policy banning the import of plastic and other common recyclables, prompting importers to find other recipients of the millions of tons of US recycling waste previously processed in China.

With sorting costs rising due to the ongoing battle to sell raw materials from recyclable sources, Tucson will no longer receive a cut in the net income it once earned from the products made from its recyclables. In addition to handling fees, the material recovery facilities charge a fee for the amount of non-recyclable materials they find.

According to Polsgrove, the city made $ 1.5 million annually from its recycling program. In fiscal 2020, the city of Republic Services Material Recover Facility had to pay processing fees of more than $ 3.5 million, including approximately $ 366,000 from contamination fees alone.

Common non-recyclable materials like plastic bags can clog the conveyor belts and machines that sort recyclables, while things like food waste can ruin the recycled paper deposit.

In order to minimize the costs borne by the material recovery plant for non-recyclable materials, the environmental department is launching its “Feet on the Road” inspection program with the aim of motivating the city’s recyclers to minimize the amount of contamination in their blue containers than styrofoam, glass – and plastic bags.


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