The California Department of Resources and Recycling (CalRecycle) held a workshop this week on how municipalities around California can adapt to a new market climate in light of China’s changing import policies.
ISRI’s Senior Director for Government Relations & International Affairs Adina Renee Adler was invited to speak on those policies and the effect they have had on recycling in the United States. She cautioned that China’s policies are here to stay and that China’s main demand is for the materials that have already been recycled.
The workshop involved other speakers and a broad audience of city recycling managers and MRF operators. Their perspectives were nearly universal that with China’s shrinking market, materials are piling up, putting stress on the system and on local budgets. But there was some disagreement as to how to prioritize the appropriate responses to the new market climate, such as infrastructure and technology investment; determining if the materials are marketable versus recyclable; how to improve information sharing with households, collectors and recyclers; improving the dialogue at the design stage (particularly for packaging); etc. There was an acknowledgement that these are tough questions in light of California’s recycling mandates, rising recycling costs and declining recyclable commodity prices, but the workshop was an important opportunity for ISRI to be engaged with these local authorities.
For more information on this event, contact Adina Renee Adler
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