Confession of a Recovering Recycler

We are facing a resource conservation crisis. Asia has rejected millions of tons of American cardboard and plastic due to contamination problems. Contamination in the U.S. is high since recyclables are often dumped into one bin instead of multi-streamed or separated from the source. Now, China has strict standards for recycling materials it will accept, requiring contamination levels in a plastic bale, for example, contain one-tenth of 1 percent. The situation is dire for many localities as recycling costs have skyrocketed. Many municipalities have stopped recycling, greatly increasing disposal.

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