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Recycling Hits Roadblock in Lane County

EUGENE, Ore. — Recycling in Lane County is hitting a road block.

Big-ticket items like plastic bins, tubs and playground toys are no longer being accepted.

Nothing has changed at lane county waste management, but drop off sites for rigid mixed plastic have been temporarily suspended.

Bottles, tubs, and jubs–the plastics you recycle curbside are the same as what can be recycled at Lane County Waste Management.

The rules are clear. Even so, hardcore recyclers like Jim Shultz want to recycle it all.

What happen is you end up with trash mixed in with the recycles. That’s what happening in China where America recycles most of its plastics.

“In China they have cracked down and said we don’t want garbage in our plastic. So they are targeting mixed loads when it’s a mix of different materials. They stop every single load,” said Sarah Grimm, Lane County Waste Reduction Specialist.

It’s causing a backlog of plastics in Oregon and Lane County.

Two major plastic processors that collected non-curbside items along mixed ridged plastics have reportedly stopped accepting them.

“Kiddie pools, patio furniture and five gallon buckets and rubber made. The plastic is valuable but collecting it mixed eventually caused a problem,” Grimm said.

For recyclers who go through the process of collecting, sorting and hauling, it’s disappointing.

“It is a little frustrating. I have a 30-gallon bag in a garbage can full of recyclable stuff that is no longer recyclable,” Schultz said.

Right now the two options for anyone with this rigid mixed plastic hold onto it to see if the recycle program picks up or toss it away.

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