NRC Press Release
The China Crisis - Whose Crisis is It?
WASHINGTON DC, May 15, 2018
-- It is ours. Recycled materials and trash should look very different from each other, but for years they have been converging in the U.S. China has not been the creator of today's crisis in the industry - U.S. mills have been complaining for years - but China's recent embargo of U.S. recycling imports is shining a mirror on our recycling industry and providing a clear signal that we can no longer pretend diversion of waste into a recycling bin is recycling.
MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities) can produce quality materials out of both single stream and dual stream inputs, but not when 20+% of the input "recyclable" stream, in some cases, are not recyclables. The plants are not built to handle those specs, and slower, cleaner processing has not historically been rewarded with higher market prices. Now fast, dirty recycling is being punished with no markets. Rightly so. Clean material is a resource; dirty is not. Clean recyclables have been the minority for years.