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UPDATED: Aug. 17, 2018

What Chinese import policies mean for all 50 states

Waste Dive began tracking the effects of China's scrap import policies across all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) during Nov. 2017 in honor of America Recycles Day. We scan the news daily, and update weekly, but can't spot it all. See information that doesn’t reflect your knowledge or would help expand ours? Send an email to [email protected].

Based on our observations, the effects are heavy in 13 states, noticeable in 28 (plus DC) and minimal in nine. For a state-by-state breakdown, click on the menu below or scroll through.

Want to learn more about China's initial July 2017 announcement and how the industry has reacted since? Check out our ongoing coverage and other industry resources here.

Effect Key

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

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Alabama

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Alabama escaped early effects of this policy in fall 2017, according to correspondence with the Department of Environmental Management and the Southeast Recycling Development Council. More recent news shows it hasn't totally been immune.

Side Effects

Changes and Solutions

  • Republic Services asked Arab for a cost increase in June, but after exploring its options, WAFF reports that Arab decided to stay the course. Its contract terms are technically still valid through May 2020. (July 2018)
  • Tuscaloosa claims to be weathering the market storm because of its curbside pre-sort collection system, and a good relationship with Waste Recycling Inc., as reported by The Crimson White. (July 2018)
  • The Enterprise City Council decides to end curbside recycling effective Oct. 1, as reported by the Ledger, but discussed the possibility of applying for a state grant to potentially build a drop-off site in the future. (Aug. 2018)

Alaska

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

Alaska was one of the first states to begin seeing effects in fall of 2017 due to a reliance on exporting to Washington. The state government doesn't take an active role in such issues, so many decisions have played out locally.

Side Effects

  • Multiple communities were informed by Republic Services and others that markets for their mixed paper, and in some cases mixed plastic, no longer existed. (Oct. 2017)
  • Alaska Public Media reported Juneau was having difficulty moving material ahead of the January implementation date. (Nov. 2017)
  • KFSK reports that Petersburg is now considering whether to stop all recycling in the future. The small borough estimates it could save $3,300 per year by doing so. No decision is expected until the fall. (Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Sitka, Petersburg and Ketchikan announced plans to drop mixed paper and plastics from their recycling programs. (Nov. 2017)
  • It's later reported by KTOO that Republic had continued accepting and stockpiling that mixed paper, but informed Ketchikan shipments could no longer go out as of March. The city has since announced it will officially stop taking mixed paper.(May-June 2018)

Arizona

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

Last fall, the Department of Environmental Quality’s recycling coordinator said businesses were “struggling some” with commodity prices, and local governments had been asking questions, but material was still moving. The state has since experienced many of the usual effects, and they appear to be worsening as the summer wears on.

Side Effects

  • Numerous municipalities in the Phoenix East Valley metro area have reported major hits to their budgets as commodity revenues plummet, according to the Ahwatukee Foothills News. (May 2018)
  • Municipalities and MRF operators throughout the state begin reporting more issues, with hints that some material is now being disposed, according to The Arizona Republic. Republic Services tells CBS 5 News that it continues to meet with municipalities about potential contract changes. The town of Bisbee considers cuts to its drop-off program, according to the San Pedro Valley News-Sun, and is landfilling low-value materials. (July 2018)
  • The Arizona Daily Star reports on wide-ranging issues in the state, focusing on a host of potential changes in Tuscon such as reduced collection or higher fees. The city's recycling program is projected to run a $500,000 deficit this fiscal year and local MRFs are reporting high contamination rates. Green Valley News later reports that Republic is still moving material at its local MRF and has even offered skeptical residents ride-alongs to prove recycling continues as usual. (NEW - July/Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

Arkansas

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Like other Southeast states, Arkansas is seen as less affected by the recent market shifts. There hasn’t been any guidance posted on state agency or association sites.

Side Effects

Changes and Solutions

  • Texarkana stopped accepting all plastics at its drop-off center. Residents can still recycle plastics at a monthly "Green Texarkana" drive, or via curbside collection from Waste Management, as reported by the Texarkana Gazette. (March 2018)

California

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

It may have taken longer for the effects to become public than in other West Coast states, but it's now clear that California is struggling just as much. While larger cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco have been less public with their struggles than smaller counterparts, few companies or municipalities claim to be operating unscathed.

CalRecycle's main guidance so far has been around stockpiling regulations, as the state doesn't technically have disposal bans. Director Scott Smithline published an extended letter in May to acknowledge the situation and call for more domestic infrastructure. The agency also hosted a day-long workshop on the issue in early June.

Side Effects

  • San Diego reports a potential $5.1 million swing in costs to work with IMS Recycling Services and Allan Company, according to a council memo. (May 2018)
  • Recology's Santa Rosa MRF is beginning to fill up according to the Point Reyes Light. (June 2018)
  • Ongoing issues with markets pricing, stockpiling or contamination rates have also been reported in areas such as Los Altos, Mountain View, Gonzales, Bakersfield, Chico, Manteca and Grass Valley. (Spring/Summer 2018)
  • SFGate reported that Recology was staging more plastic bales than usual at its San Francisco MRF in March. In July, the Los Angeles Times reported that some material was getting disposed. Recology recently told Waste Dive it is close to meeting a 1.5% contamination spec at the facility. (Spring/Summer 2018)
  • Facing a $1 million swing in processing costs, Bakersfield's Public Works Department experts to deliver recommendations in September that could include raising rates, cutting mixed plastics, or otherwise reducing service - as reported by Bakersfield.com. Though as of August, city officials were still holding out hope that markets could turn around and expressing doubt about whether a program change or expensive education campaign would sink in with residents. (July/Aug. 2018)
  • An LA County Sanitation Districts official says 15-20% more material is ending up as residual contamination now at the Puente Hills MRF, as reported by Marketplace. Bales of paper are beginning to pile up at a local city MRF, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The Indy reports Laguna Beach is experiencing similar challenges. (Aug. 2018)
  • Northern California is in the spotlight lately with a series of stories on stockpiling in the Bay Area and Napa Valley. NBC reports on effects at Recology's Vallejo MRF. The San Francisco Chronicle covers Marin Sanitary Service and Upper Valley Disposal & Recycling. The Napa Valley Register has the latest from Napa Recycling and Waste Services. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

Colorado

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

State regulations require MRFs to meet a 75% minimum material turnover rate. Waivers from the Department of Public Health and Environment would be needed to change that or stockpile material. The agency has touted an existing infrastructure grant program as one way its helping respond.

Market challenges were a primary topic at the Colorado Association for Recycling's annual summit in June, where multiple working groups were formed to outline specific solutions over the next year. Rep. Jared Polis, the Democratic nominee for governor, also spoke about how the state needs to modernize its recycling infrastructure.

Side Effects

  • Denver's local MRF operator, Waste Management, had slowed processing speeds to the point that it was operating at 60% capacity to help with quality control, according to an Aspen Public Radio series. (March 2018)
  • Alpine Recycling Vice President Brent Hildebrand says China's import shutdown in May temporarily forced material into new markets such as South Korea and Mexico, as reported by CGTN. The Colorado Springs Independent reports that mixed paper has piled up as efforts continue to cultivate new long-term markets. (June-July 2018)
  • Boulder County's MRF, operated by Eco-Cycle, has become an increasingly popular spot for others to send their material. The facility's newer plastic sorting equipment, and longstanding relationships with domestic buyers, have meant it can get more value for its bales than many others according to Colorado Public Radio. The Daily Camera reports that an additional 2,500 tons have come through in recent months as a result. (July 2018)
  • The Durango Telegraph begins a two-part series on market effects in the area. Friedman Recycling says it is now using alternate markets in countries such as Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Mexico and Brazil. The company is also currently sitting on mixed plastic. While no policy changes are planned at this time, the piece hints they could be coming. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Durango city officials voted to approve a new $2.69 monthly surcharge for residential recycling, effective in July. The city would have otherwise faced a $180,000 budget shortfall after Friedman Recycling raised prices by $25 per ton, according to The Durango Herald. (May 2018)
  • The Larimer County Recycling Center, which serves cities such as Fort Collins and Loveland, has essentially stopped recycling plastics #3, 6, 7 due to a lack of markets, according to the Coloradoan. (May 2018)
  • Alpine Recycling Vice President Brent Hildebrand says China's import shutdown in May temporarily forced material into new markets such as South Korea and Mexico, as reported by CGTN. (June 2018)

Connecticut

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Issues in Connecticut took longer to catch on than in other New England states, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reports no disposal waivers have been requested yet, but conditions are difficult for local operators.

Side Effects

  • The Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority, which owns a MRF operated by Republic Services, reported it was sitting on more than 1,000 bales of ONP and mixed paper, as well as hundreds more of OCC. Glass had already been a challenge, with much of it being shipped nearly 500 miles to Pennsylvania. With the exception of #5 plastics, MIRA was also sending other low-grade plastics that have no market with residue to its waste-to-energy facility. (April 2018)
  • The Hartford Business Journal reported that the Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority had seen prices from Winter Bros. rise recently. Republic has also attempted renegotiating its contract with MIRA ahead of 2021. (June 2018)
  • The Norwalk Hour reports on rising annual costs in multiple municipalities. Stamford went from earning $95,000 to paying $700,000. New Canaan is now paying $100,000 more per a new contract. Wilton, currently losing $300,000 at its transfer station, could end up paying $100,000 more. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The DEEP launched a new universal recycling campaign, called "What's In, What's Out" to standardize sorting guidelines statewide. This was in the works prior to China's import moves, but was touted as a way to help contamination. (Nov. 2017)
  • The Closed Loop Fund announced a new partnership with DEEP to distribute at least $5 million in infrastructure investment during 2018. This could potentially help MRFs upgrade sorting technology or be used in other capacities. (March 2018)
  • The Republican-American reports that multiple cities and towns are faced with cost decisions as contracts come up for renewal. The town of Naugatuck chose to switch to the MIRA MRF after its contract with Winter Bros. was set to go up by nearly $40 per ton. (July 2018)

Delaware

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The Delaware Solid Waste Authority has previously said it's in a better position to meet contamination standards than others because of a recently built MRF, now operated by Republic Services. The state's Universal Recycling Law prohibits haulers from directly disposing of material, but allows for that same material to be disposed as residue if it passes through the MRF.

Side Effects

  • The DSWA reported mixed plastics markets had evaporated in recent months, due in large part to the idling of QRS Recycling in Maryland. (Nov. 2017)
  • Delmarva Now reported the cost of recycling now exceeds its value in terms of commodity prices for DSWA. (Feb. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • DSWA's MRF slowed its processing speeds, but no other changes have been reported. (Feb. 2018)

District of Columbia

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The D.C. Department of Public Works was well aware of the market situation in November, but so far none of the city’s local contractors had communicated issues about finding markets for material. In fact, D.C. was one of multiple cities to expand its recycling program last fall.

Side Effects

  • Delmarva Now reported the district ended up paying nearly $1.4 million to process its recyclables as compared to earning $550,000 in 2011. (Feb. 2018)
  • The AFP reported that the district's recycling now costs nearly $30 more per ton than disposal. (July 2018)

Florida

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Last fall, the Department of Environmental Protection hadn't yet heard of any concerns about market conditions but projected that mixed plastics and paper could be dropped from local programs if the situation worsened. Florida law requires counties to recycle a significant portion of at least four major material packaging types, but doesn’t specify what kinds.

Side Effects

  • Tarpon Paper in Loxley stopped accepting material from Pensacola, though residents weren't informed for seven months. (Sept. 2017)
  • The Sun Sentinel reports that 17 cities in Broward County are evaluating limited options after contracts with Sun Bergeron will not be renewed. That leaves Waste Management as the only option - aside from potentially not recycling at all - but processing costs will be nearly double. (June 2018)
  • Lee County reports being charged nearly $363,000 by its processor because of high contamination rates and reminds residents that "recycled materials are resold and no one buys materials covered in coffee grounds or lasagna." (July 2018)
  • Numerous cities are being faced with cost increases and will likely decide this month. WFTS reports on a proposed Waste Connections increase in Madeira Beach. The News Chief reports that Advanced Disposal is seeking increases in Auburndale. The West Volusia Beacon reports that multiple local governments in Volusia County are in talks with GEL Recycling. (Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The DEP launched a "Rethink. Reset. Recycle" campaign to raise awareness about the state's average 30% contamination rate. (Nov. 2017)
  • Polk County officials cite China as a reason for eliminating glass, magazines and certain plastics from the local recycling program. (Nov. 2017)
  • The state legislature passes SB 1308, which includes extensive language around reducing contamination through contract structures, education and other strategies. (March 2018)
  • 30A Recycle suspends curbside collection in Walton and Bay counties because a local recycling center can no longer sell its plastic to Waste Management's Dothan, Ala. facility, according to the News-Herald. (April 2018)
  • The Pensacola City Council approved a new contract with the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority MRF to resume recycling service in July. (June 2018)
  • Orange County Utilities launches a cart tagging pilot for more than 600 households. The Orlando Sentinel reports contamination has gone up sharply since a 2016 switch to single-stream. Annual fees will soon go up to $10 - with nearly $6 of that dedicated to education - in an effort to counter the trend. (June 2018)
  • The Sentinel reports that the cities of Deerfield Beach and Sunrise have officially suspended all curbside recycling after refusing more expensive contract terms from Waste Management. Deerfield Beach later reaches an agreement to resume service with a new processing fee, but a six-month grace period to analyze the source of its high contamination rates. (NEW - July/Aug. 2018)
  • The DeBary City Council voted to suspend its recycling program immediately now that GEL Environmental will begin charging for processing costs. The small city projected this would have cost more than $31,000 per year, according to The West Volusia Beacon. (Aug. 2018)
  • City commissioners in Largo approve a 20% rate increase, the first in more than 10 years, according to the Tampa Bay Newspapers. Winter Haven approves its own increase, but The Ledger reports that these costs will come out of its solid waste fund. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Georgia

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The Department of Natural Resources hadn't heard any reports of market effects in November and news remains fairly quiet out of Georgia.

Side Effects

  • The Athens-Clarke County MRF is feeling market effects and has seen rejection rates more than double. The Athens Banner-Herald reports this is attributed to a mix of contamination and market changes. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • WJCT reports that Thomasville has cut mixed plastics and glass from its drop-off program. (July 2018)

Hawaii

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

Recycling regulations are up to Hawaii's four counties, not the state Department of Health. Though changes to both local regulations and the state solid waste management plan would be needed to allow for any material disposal. Because of the state's island geography it is completely reliant on foreign export markets for just about every thing, except glass and aluminum which go to the mainland U.S. Yet the incentive is still high to recycle, especially on outer islands with limited landfill capacity.

Side Effects

  • Honolulu had already been struggling with recycling markets prior to the China announcement, so an October report from the city auditor that recommended sending recyclables to the H-Power waste-to-energy facility was appealing to some. Though the City Council voted against making any decision on this for the time being. (Jan. 2018)
  • Honolulu's Refuse Division reports that market options have narrowed in recent months, with much more stockpiling, due to saturation of Southeast Asian markets. The local MRF has added labor, and contamination enforcement has stepped up, though local rates are thankfully lower than average due in part to a robust education program when curbside recycling launched in 2009. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Maui County is no longer accepting mixed paper at its drop-off center and has also restricted its list of accepted plastics to #1 and #2, as reported by Maui Now. (Jan. 2018)

Idaho

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

Idaho's proximity to the Pacific Northwest appears to have led to many of the same side effects, including issues with both mixed paper and plastic, and questions about the economic viability of recycling programs. Though multiple cities in the state have also been taking a unique approach to solving some of those challenges.

Side Effects

  • Residents in Twin Falls and surrounding areas lose access to mixed plastics recycling, following decisions by PSI Environmental and Magic Valley Recycling, as reported by KMVT. (Jan. 2018)
  • Republic Services drops mixed plastics #3-7 for residents in Southwest areas such as Ada County, which includes Boise, Meridian and Garden City. (Jan. 2018)
  • Boise considers cutting mixed paper recycling, citing costs of $100,000 per month to recycle an estimated 640 tons of material. The city ultimately decides against it. (Feb. 2018)
  • Blaine County drops mixed paper and Boise State Public Radio reports that nearly 250,000 tons of it has been stockpiled with no market. (May 2018)
  • The city of Moscow could cut mixed plastics, aluminum foil and trays, aseptic packaging and other items from its curbside program due to rising processing costs at a local Republic MRF. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that this group of low-value items is now costing the city an estimated $200 per ton. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Twin Falls puts a $100 per ton cap on recycling costs with PSI in March, after which point material will be disposed. Nampa raises rates in June. Pocatello prepares for a potential cost increase with Western Recycling. (March-June 2018)
  • Boise launches the Hefty EnergBag program for select types of plastic, which are collected via special orange bags and sent to Renewlogy's Utah facility for chemical recycling. The Idaho Statesman reports an estimated 54,000 pounds of material has been collected by the end of the month. (June 2018)
  • Meridian officially reaches an agreement with Boise to participate in the program, following nearby Garden City and Eagle, according to the Meridian Press. (July 2018)

Illinois

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Illinois has been very quiet on this issue until recently, with many of the usual signs beginning to crop up. In July, the state's Environmental Protection Agency said that while it doesn't track information about recycling costs the agency is "actively working with various units of local government and members of the regulated to community to evaluate the potential impact of contamination in the recycling stream and identify avenues to reduce contamination in recycling. The result of these endeavors could certainly inform any potential future action."

Side Effects

  • The Chicago Tribune reports that multiple municipalities and villages - including Clarendon Hill, Elmhurst, Oak Brook and Burr Ridge - are faced with potential contract changes. Republic Services and Waste Connections subsidiary Groot Industries are the main providers in these areas. Republic has been emphasizing proper education at local council meetings, according to the Hoopeston Chronicle. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Plastics processor and exporter Parc. Corp cited China's new policies as the main reason for closing its Romeoville facility, according to Plastics News. (Jan. 2018)
  • The small city of Chenoa, faced with potential cost increases from Republic, considers dropping its program. The Pontiac Daily Leader reports that officials aren't necessarily opposed to paying more, but worry this will open the door to future requests. The Dispatch/Argus reports the village of Cordova recently agreed to a similar request from Republic. (July 2018)
  • Republic Services will no longer offer curbside service in the city of Kankakee due to rejection rates as high as 85% for residential loads. The Daily Journal reports that new drop-off bins - with size restrictions to limit illegal dumping - will be placed throughout the city as an alternative. (Aug. 2018)

Indiana

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Like others in the Midwest, it took time for market effects to catch up to Indiana but multiple reports indicate they are now being felt throughout the state. NPR recently reported that this was a primary topic at the Indiana Recycling Coalition's annual conference.

Side Effects

  • In Terre Haute, where Republic Services is warning that mixed paper has lost all value and Goodwill Industries will no longer accept material, city officials are looking for ways to ensure recycling stays viable. The Tribune Star reports that free drop-off sites, with adequate security to reduce dumping, could be an option. (June 2018)
  • The Solid Waste Management District board in St. Joseph County is conflicted about whether to approve a new contract with Borden Waste-Away Service due to cost concerns. Borden was the only company to bid on a new contract, and is asking for a 10-year extension, according to the South Bend Tribune. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Republic Services is nearly doubling rates for Indianapolis residents, the maximum allowed under its contract, as reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal. In Brownstown, The Tribune reports that Rumpke has also raised rates. (June 2018)
  • The Greene County Daily World reports that Republic will no longer accept glass at county recycling centers as of July 1 due to fiber contamination. (June 2018)
  • Johnson County will close all of its "Recycle Spot" drop-off sites by the end of the month, as reported by WRTV. (July 2018)
  • Brazil-based Wallace Brothers Disposal & Recycling will no longer offer curbside recycling service. WAWV reports customers can still drop off material with the company, and also notes Republic has stopped accepting glass. (Aug. 2018)

Iowa

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Iowa wasn't feeling initial effects last fall, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources and other local contacts. The Nov. 2017 edition of the Iowa Recycling Association's newsletter featured detailed interviews with many of the state's largest recyclers. While none reported program changes or market collapses in the state, prices for mixed paper and rigid plastics were cited as problematic.

Side Effects

  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Mid America Recycling was facing issues with mixed paper and had been stockpiling in hopes of better markets. When that didn't come, the company was forced to send 1,000 tons of material to a landfill. (May 2018)
  • Market effects have begun to sink in for more recyclers in the state after months of tough pricing, according to Quad-Cities Online. Scott County has seen mixed paper prices drop from $75 to $2 per ton. In Rock Island County, Republic Services is now paying $5 per ton to move it, compared to earning $50 per ton last year. (June 2018)

Changes and Solutions

Kansas

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

According to communication with the state’s Department of Health and Environment in Nov. 2017, area recyclers had been following the developments for “many months.” While China’s import policies were expected to have less of an effect than on the coasts, prices were expected to take a hit.

Side Effects

  • The Lawrence Journal-World reported that local recycler Hamm was only exporting about 10% of its material to China, and began shifting away from that market last summer. Though costs could still go up, which would affect prices for residents in Lawrence. (Jan. 2018)
  • Shawnee County is trying to raise awareness about contamination ahead of an expected price increase when its Waste Management contract comes up for renewal, according to WIBW. (June 2018)
  • KSN reports that non-profit PRo Kansas Recycling is stuck with an estimated 70,000 tons of recyclables and mixed plastics are particularly hard to move. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Waste Connections has enacted a new $90-per-ton tip fee for recyclables, and removed free drop-off bins, in the Wichita area. According to KAKE, this is also affecting companies that utilize the facility. Waste Management is now asking Center Valley for a rate increase. (July 2018)

Kentucky

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

If market effects were being felt in Kentucky the state’s Department of Environmental Protection wasn’t aware of them in Nov. 2017, though the agency doesn’t directly track recycling markets.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

Louisiana

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Louisiana’s Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t regulate material recovery facilities and had not heard about any market effects in Nov. 2017.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

Maine

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Like other New England states, Maine has felt effects for months. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Paul Mercer described the state as being "significantly impacted" in his summer newsletter and said staff "are working with others in the recycling industry to support the development of new materials processing facilities and domestic markets for recyclables. Mercer also highlighted ongoing educational efforts.

Side Effects

  • The Press Herald reports ecomaine, Casella Waste Systems and Coastal Recycling are struggling to move material - particularly mixed paper. (Jan. 2018)
  • The Press Herald reports that non-profit ecomaine went from making $107 per ton of mixed paper in 2017 to now paying $30-45 per ton in Southeast Asian markets. The average revenue for all commodities is now $4 per ton and 10 workers have been added. The community-owned operation is now facing a $300,000 revenue shortfall for its recycling program in the current fiscal year. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The Tri-County Solid Waste transfer station, which provides drop-off service for multiple rural communities, stops accepting all plastics except #2. Lincoln County follows suit, as reported by Wiscasset Newspaper. (April-May 2018)
  • The Press Herald reports that ecomaine will start charging $70 per ton for processing and an additional fee of up to $70.50 per ton if contamination is above 5%. The nonprofit hosts a press conference to begin raising awareness about its 15% incoming contamination rate. (May 2018)
  • Making good on that promise, ecomaine begins charging member communities for contamination and some collection companies leave dirty bins behind. After facing a potential $100,000 fine, the city of Sanford is among those now turning things around. While contamination rates still remain too high, especially at drop-off sites, the Press Herald recently reported that overall inbound contamination rates have dropped from 12% to 7% at the ecomaine MRF. (May-July 2018)
  • The small town of Gouldsboro is cancelling curbside service effective Sept. 1. WGME reports that Casella increased prices from $45 to $140 per ton, and said they could potentially go as high as $200. The Bangor Daily News later reports that other towns have since called for advice on whether to consider doing the same. (NEW - July/Aug. 2018)
  • The Unity Area Regional Recycling Center has stopped accepting most types of plastic, essentially now only taking #2s and some #4s, according to the Portland Press Herald. (Aug. 2018)

Maryland

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The Department of the Environment has been monitoring effects, including "significantly higher" recycling costs for counties and more local outreach around contamination. MRFs have also been reporting many of the usual challenges and reactions. With this in mind, the agency is "exploring opportunities to work with counterparts in other states to support regional market development."

Side Effects

  • Challenges at Waste Management's Elkridge MRF, a key hub in the Baltimore area, are featured in a Baltimore Sun piece. The story indicates Carroll and Anne Arundel counties have seen a large swing in costs, and Baltimore's processing fee has gone up sharply under a new contract. (June 2018)
  • The AFP reports that same facility is making no money on mixed plastics or paper, though is still finding viable export markets for cardboard. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Washington County's Forty West Landfill has stopped accepting plastics bags or film at its drop-off site, according to Herald-Mail Media. (July 2018)

Massachusetts

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

The Department of Environmental Protection began fielding questions from businesses and municipalities last fall as conditions worsened. As of August, the agency had issued 47 disposal waivers for unsorted single-stream material since last fall.

DEP has also been sharing contamination guidance such as the “Recycling IQ Kit", plus offering a range of grants and loans. As of June, the agency finalized a list of statewide universal recyclables list for every MRF to share and will promote it with a marketing campaign later this year. Glass remains in. Cartons, plastic clamshells, black plastics, shredded paper, ice cream tubs and various other items are out.

Side Effects

  • Casella Waste Systems reports spending more on labor during its Q3 call as market conditions worsen. (Nov. 2017)
  • E.L. Harvey & Sons becomes the source of frequent local and national media attention as material piles up. (Jan. 2018)
  • At the annual MassRecycle conference, DEP officials and industry representatives said they didn't expect the situation to improve in the near-term. (March 2018)
  • The Telegram & Gazette reports that Worcester - the state's second-largest city - is now paying more to recycle with Casella than dispose with Wheelabrator. While the city never actually recouped its recycling costs in the past, those costs are expected to rise further by $300,000 next year. (July 2018)
  • Worcester Magazine takes a close look at potential cost increases, and contamination strategies, in the eponymous city and surrounding county. Casella reports its MRFs can reach a 3% contamination rate at best. The Boston Globe reports that its home city is now paying $30 per ton to recycle. (Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

Michigan

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

As of Nov. 2017, the state's Department of Environmental Quality had already been focusing on cleaning up the stream and was planning a forum to elevate the issue. Per state law, MRFs are required to remain under a 10% residual rate so that adds further incentive to produce good product. Inspectors from Chinese brokers had also been spotted in the state. DEQ is also interested in seeing expansion of domestic (or Canadian) markets for material such as cardboard and mixed plastics to decrease reliance on exporting.

Side Effects

  • Gov. Rick Snyder calls failed efforts to double the state's recycling rate one of the most disappointing initiatives" of his tenure and talk ramps up about strengthening local infrastructure. (Jan. 2018)
  • MLive reports that Kent County has lost more than $1 million due to market swings and may now double the cost to tip at its MRF starting in 2019. This would affect local service providers, as well as neighboring Grand Rapids. (June 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The Livingston Daily reports that recently signed recycling contracts with Waste Management in Brighton and Advanced Disposal in Genoa Township have reflected rising costs. (June 2018)
  • Jackson County stops taking rigid plastics at its drop-off center and reduces hours to try and improve material quality, according to MLive. (June 2018)
  • At the beginning of the summer, the townships of Adrian, Raisin and Tecumseh were all faced with cost increases from Modern Waste to handle their drop-off sites, according to the Daily Telegram. In mid-August, The Daily Telegram reported that Raisin and Tecumseh chose to discontinue their shared program and Adrian did the same. (NEW - Summer 2018)
  • After GFL Environmental said it would begin charging non-profit Recycle Livingston $200 per ton, WHMI reports that the center is raising fees and no longer accepting plastics #3-7. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Minnesota

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Minnesota appeared to be far less affected by China's effects in 2017, as reported during the Resource Recycling Conference that fall, due in large part to a more robust network of domestic end markets, but more recent reports indicate that is now changing. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is continually working to encourage the growth of new local markets and has not yet approved any disposal waivers. The agency put out guidance in July asking for better sorting and for more manufacturers to use recycled feedstock.

Side Effects

  • MRFs report the usual challenges with tighter quality standards and depressed commodity prices, but tell MPR News they are faring better than other states. The MPCA said it was "a long way away" from approving disposal waivers. (Jan. 2018)
  • MinnPost reports conditions have gotten a little tougher for operators such as Eureka Recycling and that Vida Recycling Corporation was sitting on 300 tons of mixed paper. (March 2018)
  • The Star Tribune reports that MRF operators recently met with MPCA to outline drastically worsening economic conditions, especially for mixed paper. Both Waste Management and Republic Services begin referring to the local situation as a "crisis." The Hutchinson Leader reports that even counties such as McLeod that are faring somewhat better are still struggling with contamination. (July 2018)
  • The Free Press reports Mankato and North Mankato could soon see rate increases. Both send their material to transfer sites for further sorting at MRFs operated by Waste Management and Dem-Con. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • According to the Tribune, Republic is pushing education, Waste Management is now charging for high inbound contamination and Eureka has laid off six education and advocacy staff due to lost revenue. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Dem-Con expects monthly residential rates in its service area could go up by $8-10. (July 2018)
  • The Olmsted County Recycling Center will now only accept corrugated cardboard - no more paperboard. KTTC reports that this only applies to residents who self-haul their material and curbside rules remain the same. (Aug. 2018)

Mississippi

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

The Department of Environmental Quality hadn’t received many questions on China’s import policies as of Nov. 2017, though was “concerned” about the situation and planned to discuss it at a fall conference.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

Missouri

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

In Nov. 2017, the state’s Department of Natural Resources said the news was “very much on the radars of local governments and businesses" and that it remained in close contact with stakeholders. Similar to other Midwest states, Missouri is also interested in developing and expanding domestic end markets.

Side Effects

  • The Missourian reports that Columbia had stockpiled mixed plastics from November through February, until buyers from Ontario and North Carolina got in touch to purchase the material. (April 2018)
  • 41 Action News reports that multiple MRFs in the Kansas City region are struggling with high contamination rates and a lack of market options. WCA estimates it's losing $50 per bale of paper. Though costs aren't expected to get passed back to the city until a 2021 contract expiration. (July 2018)
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on cost pressures for the local Republic Services MRF and its regional customers. Mixed paper is reportedly moving at a loss, though Republic said pricing is better than it was a couple months ago and no program changes are currently being considered. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

Montana

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

In Nov. 2017, the state's Department of Environmental Quality had begun hearing about market issues and projected they could get worse because winter weather inhibits recycling activity in the state. That has borne out during 2018, according to more recent DEQ reports, with multiple companies and cities reporting issues getting material out due to their location.

Side Effects

Changes and Solutions

  • Pacific Steel and Recycling and Valley Recycling stop accepting plastics, while other companies are still exporting to the port in Spokane, Wash., according to the Daily Inter Lake. (Jan. 2018)
  • Republic Services and Garden City Recycling stop taking mixed plastics #3-7 in the Missoula and Lake County area, according to the Missoulian. Glacier National Park does the same, while Yellowstone hasn't made changes yet. (April 2018)
  • Butte reaches an agreement with McGree Trucking to continue curbside recycling after AWARE's closure left its program in jeopardy. The city will also hire a recycling educator to improve material quality, as reported by the Montana Standard. (July 2018)

Nebraska

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The state's Department of Environmental Quality hadn't heard reports of any early effects in Nov. 2017. The Nebraska Recycling Council has posted guidance for members about "The China Syndrome," including the fact that processors might have to temporarily limit accepted materials.

Side Effects

  • A decision by Omaha-based First Star Recycling, the state's largest MRF, to stop accepting single-stream commercial material catches local service providers and businesses by surprise. Companies and consulting groups begin advising people about how this will affect their recycling systems. (May 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • First Star CEO Dale Gubbels tells Waste Dive that "It just seems foolish to continue to put that much labor into something that the value of all of it has gone down," adding that now "we can actually work with the generators and the haulers to be able to rebate them for that cardboard.” (June 2018)
  • The University of Nebraska Omaha is now requiring all cardboard be separated into a second container to meet First Star's new commercial sorting practices. (July 2018)

Nevada

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

In Nov. 2017, officials from the state's Department of Environmental Protection said the ban was “greatly affecting markets” since most recyclables from Nevada are sent to China through the ports of Oakland or Los Angeles. In northern Nevada, the Salvation Army was collecting recyclables from local businesses and putting the material up for bid, but had to stop as of Oct. 1. Waste Management was setting up to take over those contracts, largely to collect cardboard.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

New Hampshire

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

The state's Department of Environmental Services doesn’t directly track recycling markets, but works closely with the locally-based Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) for information. The association has highlighted its ongoing contract and market guidance services for communities during this time. In August, Executive Director Mike Durfor described the situation as "a complete meltdown of systems" and has warned that smaller municipalities could soon face difficult budget decisions.

Side Effects

  • While Concord was cracking down on plastic bags, it didn't expect prices to increase because of a fixed price contract with Casella Waste Systems that runs through 2025 - according to the Concord Monitor. (Jan. 2018)
  • Seacoast Online reports that Exeter and other municipalities serviced by Waste Management have been informed of tighter quality standards and are budgeting for lower revenues from recycling. Portsmouth reports a similar situation over the summer. (March-July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Conway reevaluates its mixed paper drop-off program after having to dispose of bales due to poor market pricing, according to The Conway Daily Sun. (April 2018)
  • Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess tells the Union Leader that Casella is now charging $82 a ton, up from $1 a ton in July 2017. (May 2018)
  • Laconia decides to close three unstaffed drop-off centers due to contamination issues. The Laconia Daily Sun reports this will save an estimated $70,000 per year and residents can still recycle at the local transfer station. (June 2018)
  • The Union Leader reports that Hooksett has "temporarily" cancelled its curbside recycling program. The Concord Monitor reports that Franklin has done the same. In both cases the cost of recycling was nearly twice as much as disposal. Drop-off options are still available. (July 2018)

New Jersey

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

While New Jersey's challenges haven't been making many headlines, the Association of New Jersey Recyclers reported this spring that local MRF operators were experiencing similar conditions to their counterparts throughout the country. This has resulted in the usual slowing of lines, addition of labor and build-up of bales.

Based on all of this, processing costs are expected to increase - if they haven't already - as contracts come up for renewal. That isn't currently expected to lead to reductions in curbside programs. Doing so would require a more complex regulatory amendment at the county level due to state recycling requirements. The main focus going forward will be on reducing contamination at the curb, keeping plastic bags out of the bins and finding ways to continue the push for domestic market development.

Side Effects

  • Giordano Co. asks municipalities to keep plastic bags out. The town of Westfield reports that also includes shredded paper. According to the town, local contamination rates range from 20-25%. Giordano may eventually drop mixed plastics, but not until the end of the year per contract terms. (June 2018)
  • Atlantic Coast Recycling in Passaic tells News 12 that 10-25% of the material it takes in is now being landfilled due to contamination and tighter quality standards. The Burlington County Times reports that processing costs at a Westampton facility are expected to increase by $3 million this year. (Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The borough of Oakland announces a rare step of switching back to dual stream collection to improve material quality, and is also no longer accepting mixed plastics #3-7, as of February. (Jan. 2018)
  • New Brunswick-based GDB International tells CBS News it is now sorting plastic into distinct bales and making more money by converting the material into pellets domestically rather than exporting it. (Aug. 2018)

New Mexico

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

New Mexico was among the early wave of states to feel effects in 2017. While its state agency isn't directly involved, the New Mexico Recycling Coalition reports that many municipalities stopped receiving rebates in the fall and effects have continued to spread since.

Side Effects

  • The situation appears to reach a boiling point for multiple cities with sole area processor Friedman Recycling asking to renegotiate contract terms at its local MRFs. According to Friedman, the combination of slower line speeds, extra labor (more than 50 new staff) and low market prices left it no choice. Albuquerque's terms are expected to influence Santa Fe's options at the local Friedman MRF. The same goes for whatever happens in El Paso, TX affecting Las Cruces. (March 2018)
  • KOB 4 reports that Friedman Recycling's Albuquerque operation is still holding course, but beginning to see material pile up due to continuously low pricing. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The South Central Solid Waste Authority approves a rate increase, which the Las Cruces Sun News estimates will generate an additional $40,000 per month for Friedman. (March 2018)
  • Santa Fe approves a contract adjustment with Friedman that will be covered by cash reserves in the upcoming fiscal year. According to The New Mexican, this could increase costs by $540,000 to $720,000 depending on markets. (April 2018)
  • The News-Bulletin reports that recycling service in the small village of Bosque Farms has been suspended. It's initially reported that Silver City has dropped all materials except cardboard, though the Daily Press later reports that service will remain the same after a new processor was found. (July 2018)
  • Because the SCSWA rate increase was contingent on El Paso acting first, and the city has yet to do so, the change doesn't actually take effect until another vote. The authority also abandons plans to limit its list of accepted materials. (July 2018)
  • Lincoln County is no longer accepting mixed paper or paperboard at any drop-off sites, according to the Ruidoso News. (Aug. 2018)

New York

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

The Department of Environmental Conservation reported few known effects in the fall of 2017, but that has begun to change this spring and the agency more recently recognized that due to market volatility "some operations may find it challenging to find suitable outlets for some material." The state's conditions are also attracting some attention at the federal level, following a recent letter from Rep. John Faso to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The state Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee also plans to hold a hearing on the topic.

Side Effects

  • The Watertown Daily Times reports that St. Lawrence County is struggling and had a $127,000 budget shortfall recently due to higher recycling costs. In an extensive feature, the Democrat & Chronicle looks into challenges for Monroe and Ontario counties, and includes perspective on rising costs from Waste Management and Casella Waste Systems. (June 2018)
  • Hudson Valley 360 reports that Greene and Columbia counties have seen recycling costs swing drastically over the past year, and more limited material lists are being contemplated. The Olean Times Herald reports that Casella is now losing $47 per ton on recyclables and is looking for ways to subsidize costs at the MRF it operates for Ontario County. That could include a new step of charging fees for commercial material from outside the county. (July 2018)
  • The Times Union takes a detailed look at rising costs and contract structures for upstate municipalities. The Capital Region Recycling Partnership, comprising 13 cities, is currently negotiating with County Waste for a better rate after its prices increased sharply. (July 2018)
  • Crain's New York provides a long-awaited look at conditions in the five boroughs. Private haulers report the expected difficulties moving material at any price, and the local NWRA chapter is seeking a higher rate cap increase. Sims Municipal Recycling, the city's residential MRF operator, reports it is still able to move material but currently losing money on mixed paper. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency announces it will stop accepting single-stream material as of Jan. 2019, and has sharply increased tip fees in the meantime. The town of Ulster will take a similar step at its transfer station in August, according to the Daily Freeman. (June/July 2018)
  • The announcement that Waste Connections subsidiary County Waste will start charging $120 per ton at its Albany MRF has ripples throughout the area, according to the Times-Union. This is expected to cost Albany itself $400,000 per year, and WAMC reports that negotiations are ongoing about how to manage that. (July 2018)
  • The small town of Fort Edward cancels curbside service, and reveals it has actually been disposing of residents' material all year. The Post Star reports that this happened after Waste Management closed a local drop-off site last year. The paper later reports that DEC is working closely with the town to find solutions and residents can still take material to neighboring Kingsbury. (July/Aug. 2018)
  • Winter Bros. will honor its current contract with Oyster Bay in which the town earns $25 per ton of recycling, after initially trying to renegotiate for a $65 per ton charge. Newsday reports that a deal was signed last year to switch to single-stream - after China's July WTO announcement - with terms running through 2018. Terms are expected to change going forward. (Aug. 2018)
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs the DEC to "identify new actions to improve recycling in New York in response to changes in global recycling markets" and the agency announces plans for an initial Aug. 29 stakeholder meeting in Albany. The Times Union reports that Rensselaer will raise rates by 27% to cover higher costs at the County Waste MRF. The Finger Lakes Times reports that the Ontario County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking the state for regulatory relief and financial help with local recycling. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

North Carolina

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

The state's Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service has been very engaged on the topic as signs continue to grow of a fundamental collapse in local recycling economics.

Side Effects

  • Sonoco reports market challenges and asks New Hanover County to stockpile cardboard, according to Port City Daily. (Feb. 2018)
  • Pink Trash tells customers that costs will go up because it doesn't have a contract with Sonoco, and later tells Waste Dive that education will be an even higher priority to improve material quality. The News & Observer reports that Raleigh is no longer receiving rebates from the company. The Jacksonville Daily News says Sonoco's terms will now affect Onslow County. (Feb.-March 2018)
  • WECT reports that Kure Beach expects to see recycling costs go up by 50% if it sticks with Waste Management and will reassess in six months. (June 2018)
  • The Charlotte Observer reports dire economic conditions for companies such as Republic Services. It now costs Mecklenburg County more to recycle than landfill, and that is expected to widen after new contract terms. Republic approaches Gastonia about new terms ahead of a 2021 contract expiration, according to the Gaston Gazette. (July 2018)
  • The town of Wrightsville Beach was on track to launch a curbside recycling program with Pink Trash this year, but those plans are now on hold. Lumina News reports the company can no longer guarantee its monthly cost of $5 per household. Meanwhile, New Hanover County is said to be faring better because of an existing direct agreement with Sonoco Recycling. (Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

North Dakota

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Efforts to contact the state's Department of Health and the North Dakota Solid Waste and Recycling Association were unsuccessful in Nov. 2017. In March, the Grand Forks Herald reported that local companies such as MinnKota Recycling were more insulated because of existing domestic markets. Fargo had seen an uptick in contamination since switching to single-stream last summer, but was said to be keeping it in check through truck cameras and notices.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

Ohio

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Ohio was less reliant on export markets, but is still being affected by the drop in commodity prices and has seen an uptick in local coverage heading into the summer about contamination issues and potential rate increases. The state's Environmental Protection Agency is currently funding a new education campaign around contamination, in collaboration with The Recycling Partnership. Rumpke has also been working to educate customers about proper recycling.

Changes and Solutions

Oklahoma

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Market effects weren't expected to be felt as hard in Oklahoma, according to Nov. 2017 correspondence with the state's Department of Environmental Quality, since many end markets are located locally.

Side Effects

  • Norman has begun to feel market effects, and may have to raise rates in the future, but hasn't changed its program yet. More details are expected when the city's current contract with Republic Services expires over the summer, as reported by The Norman Transcript. (Jan. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Waste Connections stops providing drop-off service for Frederick due to high contamination rates, according to KSWO. (June 2018)

Oregon

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

Oregon was one of the first states to feel the full brunt of China's effects, and remained in the headlines for months as a result. For a variety of reasons, some related to older processing infrastructure, many MRF operators throughout the state have since been forced to request disposal permission. The Department of Environmental Quality has been engaged from the start in terms of ongoing stakeholder meetings and transparency.

According to the agency's latest figures (July 25) there have been 26 disposal concurrences granted since Sept. 2017, though six were never used. That totaled 11,490 tons between Sept. 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 - about 2% of statewide recycling.

Side Effects

Changes and Solutions

  • The Oregon Refuse & Recycling Association releases a draft list of suggested materials for municipalities to include in single-stream programs based on feedback from processors. Multiple MRFs later adopt this. (Jan. 2018)
  • Senator Ron Wyden co-signs a letter to the Chinese ambassador requesting more dialogue around import changes. (Jan. 2018)
  • Milton-Freewater, one of the first to cancel curbside service, relaunches recycling as a drop-off option. (March 2018)
  • The National Recycling Coalition hosts its first new market development workshop in Portland. As reported by the Portland Tribune, attendees discussed possible regional infrastructure investment in mixed plastics processing capability or reopening paper mills. (April 2018)
  • The Portland City Council approves a rate increase with Republic Services, as reported by KATU, joining many other municipalities in doing so across the state. (April 2018)
  • Douglas County suspends curbside service, though KEZI reports private options will still be available. Roseburg Disposal limits what it will take and Southern Josephine County considers doing the same. (May 2018)
  • Rogue Disposal & Recycling said that its newly limited material list has had a noticeable effect on marketability, according to KDRV. The company had been sending most items to landfill leading into the spring. That changed in April, with 90% of commingled material going to market and 96% in May. (June 2018)
  • The Metro regional government released new guidance for Portland area residents about the future of recycling. That included the admission that a small amount of mixed paper from Portland residents was disposed earlier this year. Metro also previewed new grants for domestic processing and outlined ongoing collaboration with state agency partners. (June 2018)
  • U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer hosted a roundtable discussion with the Metro regional government to better understand recycling issues and hear ideas about how to potentially drive a federal response. Douglas County's Roseburg Transfer Station will no longer accept cardboard, according to KPIC. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Pennsylvania

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center released guidance on National Sword in February, included perspective from Chinese representatives for the state's Office of International Business Development, that touched on many of the usual points around contamination and education. In the months since, news has picked up in the state about program changes and rate increases.

Side Effects

  • FOX43 reports that Penn Waste and the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) are considering rate increases for residential customers, after Penn already added a "sustainability fee" for commercial clients. (April 2018)
  • Lancaster Online reports that cost increases at Penn Waste will in turn affect LCSWMA, and notes that material has been stockpiled. (June 2018)
  • Philadelphia's recycling budget could take a $2 million hit this year now that it's paying Republic Services $38 per ton, according to The Inquirer. Others, such as Camden County, may be spared for now due to long-term agreements. (July 2018)
  • The York Dispatch reports that Penn Waste's efforts to renegotiate contracts have officially became a campaign issue as owner Scott Wagner runs for governor. Current Gov. Tom Wolf's campaign claims the company "is trying to bail itself out on the backs of small business owners and consumers by raising rates while Scott Wagner is hiding his income and pouring his own money into his campaign coffers." (Aug. 2018)
  • The Daily Local News reports on challenges throughout Delaware County due to rising costs. New terms from B&L Disposal are expected to cost the borough of Parkside $13,000 more per year. Upper Darby has also seen costs go up since switching to Waste Management after its former hauler stopped service. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Crawford County suspends its drop-off program, after facing a potential $200 penalty from Waste Management for each contaminated load, according to The Meadville Tribune. (Dec. 2017)
  • Waste Management stops accepting paper, cardboard and glass at an Erie County drop-off site, according to GoErie.com. (May 2018)
  • The Pocono Record reports that drop-off sites are being cut back in Monroe County. New Castle News reports that the Big Blue Bin drop-off program in Mercer and Lawrence counties is on the chopping block. Bradford Township has cut drop-off bins, according to Olean Times Herald. Clearfield County stops accepting mixed paper at its drop-off site, according to Gant News. (July 2018)
  • Penn Waste announces a new list of accepted materials, which does not include mixed paper or multiple mixed plastics. LCSWMA announces its own list soon after, asking residents to focus on the "Big Four." As of early August, the transition is still ongoing with 20-40% of material in residents' bins now considered incorrect. (July/Aug. 2018)
  • The South Hills Area Council of Governments, which includes towns such as Mt. Lebanon, expects to pay significantly more for a 2019 contract regardless of the company. According to South Hills Community News this likely means dropping glass and mixed plastics. KDKA later reports that the new rules will take effect Jan. 1. (July/Aug. 2018)
  • Palmer Township is getting extra stringent at its drop-off center, according to WFMZ, now planning to turn away any contaminated items and requiring residents to sign in with a summary of their materials. WPSU reports that Centre County’s Recycling and Refuse Authority has limited its list of accepted plastics at drop-off sites. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Rhode Island

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Recycling contamination has been an ongoing focus for cities such as Providence, but market effects haven't been a driving factor in local media. In March, ecoRI News reported that the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation's MRF was struggling to find markets for mixed paper and paying to move it.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

South Carolina

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

Like other states in the Southeast, South Carolina has been less affected by China's import restrictions. When first contacted in Nov. 2017, the Department of Health and Environmental Control was urging local governments to address contamination by educating residents. Since then, some effects have cropped up but fewer than in other nearby states.

Side Effects

  • The Horry County Solid Waste Authority's MRF reported the usual challenges with market dips and contamination. Bales of plastic were mentioned as particularly hard to move. The Post and Courier reports another factor is that the facility's residual rate increased from 14% to 34% since it began accepting material from Charleston County, and that will continue until a new MRF opens in North Charleston next year. (March 2018)
  • The Island Packet reports that Beaufort County has seen a large swing in recycling costs over the past year, but plans to continue offering service. The county paid Waste Management $93,000 over a recent 10-month period, as compared to earning $13,000 during the 2017 fiscal year. (June 2018)

South Dakota

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources hadn't heard a lot from localities in Nov. 2017, but did know that local governments and companies collecting lower-grade plastics had reported difficulty finding markets for those materials and stockpiling as a result. In July, KOTA TV reported that Rapid City was still finding a market for its material though prices had declined.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

Tennessee

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Tennessee officials hadn't received any feedback from local governments or companies regarding the import restrictions in Nov. 2017 and few issues have been reported.

Side Effects

  • Dickson County, which operates 10 "convenience center" drop-off sites, raised concerns about its ability to recycle certain plastics in the near future, as reported by the Tennessean. Though the county's solid waste division said the amount of valuable material still outweighed more challenging commodities. (Dec. 2017)

Changes and Solutions

  • Murfreesboro is cutting back hours and availability for its recycling drop-off program, according to the Daily News Journal. City staff had recommended closing one center entirely, for an estimated savings of $120,000, but council members asked for a compromise that would keep it open on select days. (June 2018)
  • Hudgins Disposal will now only collect recycling once a month in the Mount Juliet area and leave behind any contaminated carts, according to WSMV. The company said higher processing fees at a Waste Management MRF were the main factor. WSMV previously reported on contamination issues in the Nashville area as well. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

Texas

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

In Nov. 2017, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the Chinese restrictions could be a good opportunity to develop local recycling markets. By December, market effects were still said to be relatively minor. That has begun to change during 2018, though even before it did multiple MRF operators announced plans to invest in new processing technology and other equipment. In July 2018, the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling changed its mission to emphasize partnership around domestic solutions "in light of the recent 'National Sword' import bans."

Side Effects

  • China's effects on commodity markets are cited by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner as one reason to finalize a new long-term recycling contract with FCC Environmental Services, which the council ends up doing after months of deliberation. (Jan. 2018)
  • El Paso emerges as one of the most affected municipalities in Texas with Friedman Recycling asking for a $40 per ton processing cost increase. Though as KVIA reports, El Paso is resistant to change because its contract terms technically run through 2030. (March 2018)
  • As Waste Management steps up quality enforcement, the Texarkana Gazette reports that local recycling could be in danger due to high contamination rates. (June 2018)
  • CBS DFW's I-Team reports recycling costs are spiking throughout northern Texas. Fort Worth earned $999,000 from its program last year, but will pay $465,000 this year. That could jump to nearly $1.7 million in 2019. Plano's revenue has dropped more than 86% over the past six months. (June 2018)
  • Kilgore is preparing to raise rates due to a $20,000 spike in monthly processing costs for Republic Services. Though the Kilgore News Herald reports this will still be less expensive than landfilling. Separately, Republic cites Dallas as a city with high contamination rates in a Wall Street Journal article. (July-Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • The San Antonio City Council doubles an existing recycling contamination fee to $50, noting diapers are a particular issue, according to Rivard Report. (March 2018)
  • Rather than renegotiate contract terms, or resort to a cheaper landfill option, El Paso Inc. reports that the city will step up its education efforts. El Paso's Environmental Services Department launches a a pilot program called "Tug Tip Turn and Tag" across 10,000 of the 180,000 households it services. The goal is to cut current contamination rates of 30-35% in half. (May 2018)
  • Oak Ridge North approves a rate increase with Waste Management to offset market effects. Community Impact Newspaper reports the company said it could agree to a lower rate if the city dropped glass. (July 2018)

Utah

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The state's Department of Environmental Quality wasn't hearing concerns about market issues in Nov. 2017, and it took time for them to reach local operators, but Utah now appears to be feeling many of the same issues as its regional neighbors.

Side Effects

  • As prices at the Recycled Earth MRF increase, according to the Standard-Examiner, North Ogden considers whether the economics still work for its curbside program. (April 2018)
  • Multiple news stories begin to question whether it's still economically viable to recycle in the Salt Lake Valley due to sharply rising costs for the Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District. Though, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, the district's board decides to continue service despite a $900,000 increase for the year based on higher processing costs at Rocky Mountain Recycling and Waste Management. (June 2018)
  • The city of Roy has been approached by Waste Management about potential changes when its current contract expires in November. The Standard-Examiner reports that this could include raising rates, or potentially cancelling service, but no decisions have been made yet. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • North Ogden later decides that a rate increase is worthwhile to continue the service, as reported by the Standard-Examiner. The paper later reports that new measures such as pulling service for repeat contamination offenders has been successful, and only necessary for a small fraction of overall households. (May-July 2018)
  • Moab cuts down the list of items at its drop-off center. Multiple types of plastic, as well as mixed paper, will no longer be accepted, according to the Moab Sun News. (June 2018)
  • ACE Recycling and Disposal isn't taking any plastic food containers and is closely inspecting carts in areas such as West Valley City, according to Fox 13. (July 2018)
  • The Weber County School District will remove most recycling bins due to rising costs. Though KSL reports that some schools will continue recycling fiber through private contracts. (Aug. 2018)

Vermont

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

In Nov. 2017, Department of Environmental Conservation officials had heard some concern about China’s new standards but not seen direct effects or fielded questions from local governments. Since then locally-based Casella Waste Systems has been vocal about market issues and that appears to have come to a head with recent action by the state legislature.

Changes and Solutions

  • The Chittenden County Solid Waste District increased its MRF tipping fees to $25 per ton for in-district haulers and $50 for all others, according to Seven Days. Rates are expected to climb again. Local governments, such as Burlington, will likely pass these costs on to residents through solid waste taxes. (May 2018)
  • Gov. Phil Scott signs a bill allowing the state's Agency of Natural Resources to "suspend the application of the landfill disposal ban" on mixed paper until July 2019. Lobbying by companies such as Casella that have reported worthless mixed paper markets was said to be a factor. The new language also updates separation requirements for MRF residuals and allowable fees for recycling service. (June 2018)
  • VT Digger reports recycling costs are rising throughout the state. The Chittenden Solid Waste District, which owns the state's two main MRFs, will begin charging $55 per ton in September. Casella's Rutland MRF has also raised rates. While the Northwest Vermont Solid Waste Management district is doing the same, despite having higher quality source-separated material. (July 2018)

Virginia

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

When contacted in Nov. 2017, the state's Department of Environmental Quality advised that local governments keep up with information coming from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At the time effects were relatively minor, though they have begun to worsen this year. Though in August, the Virginia Recycling Association was urging people to view this as a "reality check for product manufacturers to improve their packaging, for the recycling industry to improve their sorting technology, for everyone who works with the public to improve recycling information and for consumers to reduce their waste and recycle responsibly."

Side Effects

  • The Virginian-Pilot reported that TFC Recycling and Butler Paper Recycling were seeing a significant reduction in market value, and ongoing issues with "wishful recycling." (Nov. 2017)
  • TFC tells the Richmond Free Press that it's having trouble meeting new quality standards because 15-20% of the residential material it receives is contaminated. Though the company is still finding markets for fiber in Vietnam, South Korea, India and domestically. (March 2018)
  • Southern Scrap/Williams Recycling has said rate increases for customers such as Frederick County might be necessary to prevent material from ending up in landfills, according to The Winchester Star. (Aug. 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • van der Linde Recycling abruptly closes its mixed waste MRF, forcing Harrisonburg to landfill material on a temporary basis. (March 2018)
  • Recycling & Disposal Solutions says it will stop taking plastics #3-7. This will affect residents in the Roanoke and New River Valley regions, according to The Roanoke Times. (May 2018)
  • The town of Broadway cancels curbside service after 20 years due to a 63% cost increase from Waste Management, according to WHSV. (June 2018)
  • WHSV reports that Staunton will see costs for Sonoco to service its drop-off containers increase from $3,000 to $52,000 starting in August. (July 2018)
  • Canadian company Cascades has acquired the idled White Birch paper mill in Bear Island and plans to invest up to $300 million on an upgrade that will be complete by 2021. Resource Recycling reports that the plant is expected to use OCC and mixed paper as feedstock. (July 2018)

Washington

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Heavy

The state's Department of Ecology said China's policies were "beginning to create a major disruption" as early as last fall, and warned that slower processing rates could lead to disposal. The agency asked local governments to avoid permanent changes. The Washington Refuse and Recycling Association has been pushing "when in doubt, throw it out" as part of ongoing guidance. In the months since, news began to leak out slowly about mostly small municipalities experiencing issues - but nothing on the magnitude of neighboring Oregon.

Then Ecology hosted its first statewide recycling market call on March 28, during which it became apparent that effects were worse than previously reported. In April, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) told Waste Dive it was now allowing companies to request rate changes more frequently than in the past and expected all 53 regulated haulers to make a request if they haven't already. Ecology released new guidance on commingled programs in July, including a template for accepted material lists.

Side Effects

  • The Seattle Times reports Republic Services had been asking for temporary mixed paper disposal permission from dozens of King County municipalities. (March 2018)
  • Multiple stories, including NBC Nightly News and Q13 Fox eventually show that Republic got approval from everyone except Seattle and King County. Yet the company still included King County's mixed paper anyway as part of a broader 2,000 ton disposal. (April-July 2018)
  • McClatchy takes a deep look at statewide conditions, including education efforts from the Department of Ecology and rising costs for Tacoma. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Multiple small municipalities - such as Walla Walla, Waitsburg and College Place - either drop material, raise rates or consider cutting their programs entirely. In March, as reported by the Union Bulletin, College Place suspends all service. In April, Skagit County stops accepting certain plastics. (Nov. 2017-April 2018)
  • The Auburn Reporter announces that King County will form a special recycling task force. This will include representation from the county, the UTC, Recology, Republic, Waste Management and multiple local municipalities. A report with solutions is expected by October. (April 2018)
  • Rates go up for municipalities throughout the state, either through the UTC process or other forums, and continue to do so into the summer. Puyallup, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Walla Walla, Edmonds, Kitsap and Mason counties are among that growing list. (June-July 2018)
  • The Bellingham Herald reports that Whatcom County is faring better than others in the state, with a 1% contamination rate, because it never made the switch to single-stream. The Columbia Basin Herald reports that Grant County has ended mixed paper drop-off and Consolidated Disposal Service, Inc. "was holding several months of Quincy’s recycling and had no place to ship it."(July 2018)
  • Island County Solid Waste will no longer accept plastics #3-7 at its drop-off site, and requests all caps and lids be removed, according to the Whidbey News-Times. (NEW - Aug. 2018)

West Virginia

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Minimal

Efforts to contact West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection and Solid Waste Management Board were unsuccessful in Nov. 2017. The West Virginia Recyclers Association was unfamiliar with any details of China’s new import policies when reached for comment.

Have you heard more? Send an email to [email protected].

Wisconsin

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

The state's Department of Natural Resources hadn't received any informational requests about landfilling materials when first contacted in Nov. 2017, and state rules do differ on how that is handled with mixed plastics versus fiber grades. At the time, the agency was encouraging communication with the public as markets shifted. More recently, it has become part of the Midwest pain point for recycling costs.

Side Effects

  • Urban Milwaukee reports the city is projecting a $870,000 drop in recycling revenue for the year. (June 2018)
  • Green Circle Recycling has reported increasing difficulty moving mixed paper, according to the La Crosse Tribune, even at a cost. This has prompted initial questions about state disposal waivers and whether sending material to a nearby waste-to-energy facility versus a landfill would be allowable. (July 2018)

Changes and Solutions

  • Madison is among the very first municipalities to alter its recycling program based on China's policies by cutting rigid plastics from drop-off sites, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. (Sept. 2017)
  • Waste Management doubles down on contamination standards with Milwaukee, and says only plastics #1, 2, 4 and 5 will be accepted, according to the Journal Sentinel. (June 2018)
  • Green Bay Packaging Inc. announces plans to build a new $500 million paper mill that will source 100% recycled content, including OCC and mixed paper. This will be the state's first new paper mill in more than 30 years. (June 2018)
  • The Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin launch a new "Recycle Right" campaign to help re-educate residents. A recent survey by the organization found that 90% of state MRF operators have been significantly affected by market shifts and all of those facilities reported up to a 60% drop in revenue. (June 2018)

Wyoming

Effect

Reported status of China’s proposed import policies on local recycling

Minimal = Aside from the average market fluctuations, no major issues were reported.

Noticeable = Material is still moving, but with more difficulty, and local programs may be considering cuts.

Heavy = Recycling programs have been cut back, recyclable material is being disposed, or markets are shrinking.

Noticeable

As of Nov. 2017, the Department of Environmental Quality was urging collectors and processors to communicate with their markets to see if any restrictions would be put in place, as well as raising awareness about contamination.

Side Effects

  • The city of Sheridan reported that it was currently stockpiling mixed plastics with the hope that it could move them when markets improve. Though so far both the city and service provider County Trash have been telling residents to continue business as usual, according to The Sheridan Press. (April 2018)
  • Teton County officials are looking at a potential rate increase for drop-off service to offset tough recycling markets. The Solid Waste Department has been stockpiling paper and plastics, but also recently had a paper load rejected due to moisture from being stored outside. Officials don't believe they'll be able to cover the cost of recycling service in terms of labor and other factors without a rate increase for the coming fiscal year, according to the Teton Valley News. (June 2018)