Keep Your Recycling Clean

Image of Blue Recycling Cart with recycling items going in

Did you know that 60% of the recyclable materials collected in the U.S. go to China to be recycled into new products?  Historically, China accepted up to 5% non-recyclable contaminants (garbage or food waste) in bales of recyclable materials.

Starting in March 2018, however, the Chinese government is enforcing a policy called National Sword, which severely restricts the import of recyclable plastics and paper. China will only accept bales containing less than 1% contamination and will return any shipments that fail to meet that standard.  

This is a BIG change and has had a huge impact on recycling markets around the globe. We need your help!

What can you do?

  • Keep recycling clean and free of contaminants (food waste and garbage).
  • Food containers, like pasta sauce jars or yogurt cups should be empty and dry.  Use dish water to swish, or a used napkin to wipe them out (napkins are compostable).
  • Do not place recyclables in black plastic bags. They will not be opened at our sorting facility.  This means they will be sent to the landfill as garbage.
  • Single plastic bags, film plastics, candy wrappers, and plastic utensils belong in the garbage.
  • Greasy pizza boxes and other food-soiled paper should be placed in your compost cart.
  • Avoid hopeful or wishful recycling.  By checking the sorting guides to make sure an item is recycling.  Or, as we say, "when in doubt, check it out!"

Get connected

This information is based on details provided by Recology CleanScapes in their Beyond Waste Bulletin.  You can sign up today or check it out online.