Americans may have become accustomed to recycling, but all their labors are bearing ill fruit. They understand the major groupings of aluminum, glass, paper and plastic, but they fall short by combining acceptable items and unacceptable items in their recycling bins. Not everything made of these materials is recyclable, and that seems to be the primary reason why China and other countries, like Thailand and India, have imposed more restrictions to importing these items from the US.
How This Affects US Waste Management Systems
Growing restrictions on importing recyclables are starting to have devastating effects on America's waste management systems. Municipalities across the country are feeling the financial belt-tightening; some, like Philadelphia, are already being charged 400 percent more than they were the previous year by recycling facilities. These towns and cities are faced with one or more of three possible recourses: (1) incinerate recyclable waste, (2) ship recyclable waste to landfills, and (3) suspend or terminate recycling programs and services.
All of these situations are problematic and mean an increase in some kind of cost. Incineration produces more carbon and toxins than it does energy that can be sold to power companies, landfills are not bottomless pits, and stopping recycling programs only leads back to the two former problems.
Why Is It Expensive?
Basically, the country went from selling tons of its recyclable waste to paying for its disposal. Recycling has been a subsequent service for waste management facilities from the beginning. They include recycling services as an incentive to attract business while hauling and landfills top the list of lucrative endeavors.
The country seems to have maintained opportunities to recycle soda bottles and cardboard, but the bulk of the recyclable waste, namely paper and plastic, remains a problem. Recycling facilities need to cover the cost of processing. Increased cost coupled with the issue of contamination, combining trash and non-recyclable items with recyclable items, is why so many cities are focusing on disposal.
Time is money. If Americans can spend a little more time learning and practicing proper recycling techniques, then exporting the country's waste to other countries for proper repurposing could resume. Even if Americans could recycle stateside, the way recyclable waste is collected in this country would still need to drastically improve. Implementing better habits of consuming and starting the waste process will also reduce the amount of waste that the US produces.
Successful recycling is all about collecting and storing acceptable recyclable items, and it can help keep down costs. Even if cities agreed to pay the tens of thousands of dollars a month that the recycling facilities are asking, there is still no guarantee that anything new will be produced.
As it stands currently, recycling is an impractical activity that is creating an economic vacuum for municipalities. Let us help you find effective solutions at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, LLC.