FOR YEARS, CHINA HAS TAKEN IN ROUGHLY 60% of the world's recyclable materials. However, China has stated that as of January 2018, it will no longer accept mixed paper (like junk mail and cereal-box-type material) as well as certain "waste plastics" (any plastics with numbers 3 - 7 stamped on the bottom of the item).
THIS THREAT OF A CRACKDOWN has sent a shockwave through the solid waste industry, resulting in stockpiling of mixed recyclables with no place to go. This is especially true in more rural areas of the state, which are hundreds of miles from recycling processors in Portland, northern California and Washington.
View this comprehensive video explaining the crisis.
DURING THIS CRISIS, the local haulers have been working very closely with their city and county leaders, as well as our state government regulators, to make sure we continue to manage materials in the most environmentally responsible way possible. They have also been keeping the media informed, as they make decisions that will have an impact on their customers. Rogue Disposal has made some changes at the Recycle Depot at their transfer station, which will allow people to self-haul a short list of materials we can find domestic markets for, as long as those materials are collected separately and not "commingled." The materials we can accept at RTR are: High Grade office paper and mail, Tin/Aluminum, Corrugated Cardboard (the kind with the wavy middle layer), Plastic Milk Jugs, Newspaper, and Glass Bottles & Jars. Southern Oregon Sanitation has also limited the items that can be brought to their recycle depots. Recology is limiting what plastics will be accepted at the curb and at the depot. Be sure to check their website to see what is currently being accepted.
Because processors consider glass in the commingled stream to be a contaminant, Rogue Disposal and Southern Oregon Sanitation ask that you keep glass out of your commingle carts. It can be recycled, just not in your recycle cart! You can bring your glass bottles and jars to a recycle depot. Rogue Disposal has worked with several local grocery stores, who have been kind enough to locate Glass Drop Off boxes in their parking lots. This allows people to drop off their glass bottles and jars at the following locations: Sherm's Thunderbird and Food 4 Less, plus Ray's Food Place in Phoenix, Central Point, and Jacksonville.Road.
Also, thanks to expansion to the Oregon Bottle Bill, almost all glass beverage containers can be returned for deposit at the Medford Bottle Drop center. Visit obrc.com for more information.
The haulers are dedicated to remaining responsive during this crisis, and are grateful to their employees, city and county partners - and especially their customers for their partnership and patience as we figure out the best way forward.