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Need to Know

Denver Recycling Facility Works to Adjust to New Chinese Policies

The Waste Management residential recycling sorting facility receives single stream recyclables.

Recycling facilities across the country are adjusting to a new life after the implementation of China’s National Sword policy, and the Waste Management residential recycling sorting facility in Denver is no exception.

The facility receives single stream recycling from the surrounding area, separates it and sends it either 30 miles down the road or halfway across the globe to be processed. The plant is currently looking for new buyers for its materials in the wake of China’s changes.

Aspen Public Radio has more information:

Single-stream recycling is designed to be simple: Everything into the same recycling bin, which you then set out on the curb, or take to the local drop-off center.

Waste Management picks up your bottles, cans, paper and cardboard and combines it with the yogurt containers, milk jugs and empty boxes from across the valley, then loads it onto a semi-truck to Denver to be sorted, packaged and sent out to be re-purposed.

This dump-it-all-in-one-spot system is based around a key, human desire.  

“I mean, single-stream was a convenience," said Jose Herrera, the plant manager at the Denver facility where Waste Management sorts residential recycling. "And now that is kind of creating some other issues that we probably didn’t see 10 years ago.”

Read the full story here.

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