You might be glad to know that we’ve uncovered some drop off sites for recycling soft plastic in our area! (baggies, produce bags, bread bags, toilet paper wrap, etc). You might remember that China stopped accepting mixed plastics due to contamination issues, and just like that, our ability to recycle many kinds of plastic dried up overnight. (More about that here). We recently stumbled on a site that helps you find convenient drop-off locations for soft plastics in the area, and then did some more digging to make sure it was true. We were skeptical, as we’d heard recent stories on NPR about what a backlog Portland still has of recycled material with no buyers, and that they might have to landfill a lot of the curbside plastic they’ve collected. Turns out, there are processing capabilities for film in the U.S. by companies that have always bought and continue to buy retailer films (and also those recycled by customers). The type of materials that are backlogged in Portland had always been shipped to China and that’s why there is such urgency to find a solution for those now that that market has dried up. Not all plastic is the same to a market or processor— much of the material that China was taking was in mixed bales of several types of harder plastic (like clamshells and plastic lids). There are few markets for that in the U.S., thus the backlog. However, segregated materials like film, PET bottles and HDPE bottles/containers, because they each are a single resin and collected separately, are easier to market here in the US. This is great news! So, here’s a link for where you can find a drop off spot in your area! (the closest one to the store is Safeway on NE Fremont St.) Don’t miss the link describing examples of the type of plastic you can bring to recycle. Make sure it’s clean and dry, and if you’re unsure of whether you can recycle it, leave it out. We don’t want to lose this recycling opportunity due to contamination.
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