In July, China signaled its intent to forbid 24 kinds of solid wastes by the end of 2017. And since then, waste and recycling companies and various municipalities in both the U.S. and Canada have been preparing for next steps.
Oregon, for example, is considering sending recyclable material to landfill, and Waste Management has announced that it will transport its recyclables to Spokane, Wash., by the end of this year. Industry associations like the National Waste & Recycling Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America have also issued statements regarding China’s scrap ban.
Now, Quebec is starting to discuss ideas on how it will handle its recyclables going forward. Currently, about 60 percent of the recyclable material sorted and processed in Quebec is sold abroad, mostly to China. And with that selling window closing, Quebec is starting to look for more local buyers so that it isn’t forced to send material to landfill.
CBC News has more details:
Quebec is sounding the alarm over a recycling crisis now that China, one of the province's biggest waste importers, no longer wants its recyclable material.
It's leaving environmentalists wondering what will happen to the surplus material that is collected and sorted in the province.
"Mainly, what is happening now is there is less exportation to China. So the material remains in Quebec. And we store, and store and store the recyclables in sorting centres," said Karel Ménard, the director of environmental group Front commun québécois pour une gestion écologique des déchets (FCQGED).