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Lane County plastics recycling hits a bump

Community clean-up events, such as the Springfield Clean-Up happening this weekend, are no longer able to collect lawn chairs, plastic bins, tubs, baskets, playground toys, flower pots, or any large bulky plastic items to recycle. This season, an outlet to properly dispose and recycle these unusual plastics does not exist.  

The two major plastics processors (International Paper Recycling and Agriplas) that collect non-curbside and mixed-ridged plastics from small and large businesses in our area have reportedly stopped accepting mixed plastics.

“Eco-minded citizens in Lane County are used to recycling their non-curbside plastics by taking them to collection depots, but citizens need to know that mixed or odd plastics have nowhere to go right now,” said Waste Reduction Specialist, Sara Grimm.

The problem began when China, where America recycles most of its plastics, stopped purchasing certain kinds of material. According to a report by OPB,

“Chinese recyclers are no longer buying plastic items with the numbers 3, 6 or 7 on them, and inspectors are checking for and rejecting shipments of mixed plastics from overseas.” The 10-month control campaign and dramatic back up of freight is known as China’s “Green Fence”.

This has resulted in a buildup of recyclables at collection depots around the state and in Lane County. If the plastics aren’t recycled, they end up in the landfill.

“Citizens should either hold onto their materials until another recycling outlet can be found, or it will be garbage if disposed now,” said Grimm.


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