Click here for a flyer explaining the reasons for cancelling and some local recycling options for soft and garden/nursery plastics!

The Jackson County Recycling Partnership (JCRP) has recently determined that it will be unable to host its Plastic Round-Up event, which has been held annually since 2008.  The original intent of the Plastic Round-Up event was to create an opportunity for residents of Jackson County to recycle plastics which are not acceptable in the curbside collection programs offered by local haulers. The unfortunate circumstances leading to the decision to suspend the event, at least temporarily, are due to a lack of ability to find a viable market for the materials collected.

Denise Barnes, JCRP member and event coordinator explains the reasons behind the decision to suspend the program. “From the outset of this program in 2008, we have faced an uphill battle in finding homes for the material we collect at Plastic Roundup.  The primary factors impacting our ability to successfully market the material were initially the result of the Recession. But plastic recycling has become even more challenging over the last number of months, and by many indications, this trend may continue in the near future.” The significant challenges the program faces today boil down to three things; first, oil prices are extremely low, which makes the use of virgin materials (in this case, petroleum) cheaper and more attractive for plastic manufacturers, as opposed to using recycled plastics.  Second, the slowdown in China’s economy has drastically reduced their consumption of recycled plastic as a feedstock for new products.  And finally, the strong US dollar has made US exports less affordable in the global marketplace, which has driven especially European companies to source recyclable materials from cheaper parts of the world. The Rogue Valley is not alone in facing these obstacles to successful recycling; Josephine County is also suspending their annual Plastic Round-Up event. Barnes shared, as well, that in an article published in the New York Times (“Skid in Oil Prices Pulls the Recycling Industry Down With It”), it is clear that this is a global problem. For another article about import bans in China click here.

While JCRP does not see the plastic round-up resuming. remember that those materials are still not acceptable in curbside recyclable collection programs. Click here for a flyer showing some local recycling opportunities for soft and garden plastics!