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NWRA, SWANA Reissue Guidance on Municipal Collection Contracts

The joint advisory includes information on changing markets due to China’s waste import restrictions.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) just reissued their “Joint Advisory on Designing Contracts for Processing of Municipal Recyclables,” which is now updated to include a preface about how China’s waste import restrictions have affected the market for recyclable materials.

“In 2015, NWRA and SWANA first issued this document with the intent of providing professionals in our industry a tool to achieve best practices in contracting for recycling processing. As our industry responds to China’s efforts to curb imports of recyclables, NWRA and SWANA believe an updated document reflecting the current market conditions will be useful to our members,” said Darrell Smith, NWRA president and CEO, in a statement.                       

The reissued document reflects the need for North American recycling programs and providers to re-examine their current practices and investigate new processing systems, implement contamination reduction methods and revise program guidelines for acceptable materials.

Overall, the purpose of the advisory is to provide both the public and private sector professionals in solid waste management with guidance, protocols and standards regarding contracting for processing of municipal recyclables. As such, the information in the advisory is primarily focused on situations where recyclables are collected from the residential sector and delivered to a materials recovery facility (MRF) for processing and preparation for sale.

“We think it is important that recyclers address overall program sustainability and not just blame China’s import restrictions for our current challenges,” said Sara Bixby, SWANA deputy executive director, in a statement. “Anything that we can do in the United States and Canada to reduce contamination and improve our partnerships will also help develop and support recycling markets in North America. That makes all of our programs stronger.”

To guide solid waste and recycling professionals on protocols and standards regarding contracting for the processing of municipal recyclables, the updated report is available for public download.

SWANA and NWRA have partnered on many initiatives to respond to the current market disruption in the wake of China’s waste import restrictions, including advocacy for recycling funding in Congress’ infrastructure bill and meetings with key organizations and nonprofits to identify industry opportunities.

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