In response to China’s waste import ban, the Monterey, Calif., Regional Waste Management District will stop accepting plastic bags for recycling on August 1. The district was sending plastic film, including plastic bags, to China, but as of January 1, China is no longer accepting those materials from the U.S.
While the district would like to continue recycling plastic bags, there is currently no market for the bags. Instead of placing plastic bags in recycling bins, residents are now encouraged to reuse them, find local collection bins or put them in trash bins.
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The majority of the central coast’s recyclables come here, to be shipped off to be recycled or reused. And now, the plastic bags coming in and piling up can’t be recycled. All these plastic bags, and other plastic waste at the Monterey Regional Waste Management District, have virtually nowhere to go. Historically, the U.S. has depended on China to get rid of the majority of its plastic waste. But that’s changing.
It’s a challenge. China, up until January of this year, was taking over 7 million tons of plastics for recycling. Right now, all they’re accepting are number one and number two bottles. That’s it. They’ve stopped taking plastic film, meaning plastic bags.