By Kaya Deters

When you place something in the recycling bin instead of the trash bin, you may feel good because you think that the item will be restored to something useful. You don’t often think about where that recycled item is going to physically end up. Most of the recycling in the western nations ends up getting shipped to China, where it can get sorted through and broken down. China has been one of the largest global importer of most types of waste dating back to the 1980s. But as of January of 2018 China has decided to stop accepting certain materials in the recycling. China has decided to stop accepting: PET/PVC plastics, mixed waste paper, and certain textiles.

In 2016 China imported 17 million tons of recycled materials, and their recent decision to stop accepting foreign waste is an attempt to improve China’s environment. Although recycling does have its benefits on the environment, sometimes materials do not get sorted in our homes and that affects the recycling process in the long run. Beside from the emissions that get released when we ship waste internationally, the misplaced recycling often has an effect on the environment too. More frequent than not the recycled waste gets mixed with hazardous materials which release more toxic emissions into China’s environment.

Lane County’s response to the waste issue was adopting a new set of recycling standards. They will no longer items such as plastics numbers 3 through 7, and cartons made of paper that are used to hold milk & juices. They will also not accept cartons made with aseptic, like the containers that are used for almond or soy milk.  Shredded paper is no longer allowed in curbside recycling along with lids of all sorts. This is including plastic & metal lids along with tin can lids.

The citizens of Lane County now need to be more aware when disposing of trash and recycling. Indi Bartz a local Eugene resident is in favor of the new recycling laws, “It will be beneficial to the community” she stated. It is not known how much waste will end up in the landfill due to these new laws, which is why it is so important to recycle cautiously.