by Mayor Tammy

The world of recycling is changing – it’s a global market. If you read the news, you’ll know China was the main importer of recyclable materials and has now banned more than a dozen types of materials in an effort called “National Sword”. The big issue is contamination. Recycling efforts here and around the U.S. may have been a victim of people’s over-zealousness to recycle anything and everything that seemed like it could be recycled. The contamination of the recyclable waste stream with materials that should not have been included is part of what prompted China to ban materials.

So when the world’s largest importer of recyclable materials decides to change course, it has ripple effects throughout the world, including right here in Ada County. Now, there are no buyers and limited options for plastics #3 through #7. What does this mean to you? It means that if you recycle these plastics, the containers currently have nowhere to go but the landfill. If you continue to recycle the #3 - #7 plastics, you will likely make your recycling efforts null and void, as those items and the items they are comingled with that are recyclable will likely end up in the landfill. That is why, here locally, most of the cities in Ada County and the County are urging our residents to begin recycling only #1 and #2 plastics effective immediately (the numbers are found on the bottom of the containers).

Recycling is important to many citizens; nobody wants to throw away items that can be reused. For that reason, we are hosting a Town Hall on Wednesday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Cole Valley High School in Downtown Meridian. Republic Services (our trash and recycling provider) will spend the next few months educating customers and we want to help with that as well. They will be on hand to describe this issue, answer your questions and do a LIVE demo so you can see firsthand what you can and can’t recycle.

Several people have asked why we aren’t participating in Dow Chemical’s Orange Energy Bag program that Boise received a grant to launch this spring.  The grant opportunity was brought to the City of Boise by a company in Boise and the option for the program was not shared with other communities. Boise didn’t make the decision to pursue this until late December, so we are just now hearing about it. The Meridian Solid Waste Advisory Commission is currently looking into the viability of the Dow Chemical Co. program and grant opportunities that may still exist. In the meantime, Meridian residents need to throw plastics #3-#7 in the trash. Again, waiting only destroys recycling efforts by contaminating the collections.

Aside from plastics #1 and #2 you can recycle paper (newspaper, envelopes, junk mail, phone books, brochures, magazines), cardboard (ream wrappers, file folders, poster board, clean cardboard boxes) and aluminum/metal (clean beverage cans, food cans). It's important to ensure that your recyclables are EMPTY, CLEAN and DRY.

 

We’ve put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this issue on our website where residents can learn more about the recycling issue. For now, we will continue to work closely with Republic Services in order to provide you the top level of service you have come to expect.

(A post card from Republic Services regarding plastic changes shown below):

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