SWANA’s Applied Research Foundation report “Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China” looks at the impact of China’s National Sword Policy.
Issued by the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF) the report provides many observations and insights regarding the impacts of China’s National Sword Policy on curbside recycling programs in the United States and Canada and several options that are preferable to dropping curbside recycling.
David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director, and CEO announced the report at WASTECON®. , “Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China,” is available immediately, free to SWANA members. The report provides crucial data, guidance, and recommendations that will help municipalities and local governments assess alternatives.
China’s National Sword policy banned the import of several recyclable materials from all countries — including mixed paper and mixed plastics; reduced the acceptable level of contamination in scrap and recyclable materials not banned to 0.5%; and imposed tariffs on cardboard, other recovered fiber, metals, and plastics specifically from the United States.
According to the report, the impact of these policies has contributed substantially to a 50% reduction in the revenues received from the sale of recyclables recovered through curbside recycling and has resulted in increased processing costs at material recovery facilities (MRFs).
Municipalities and recycling program managers are taking the opportunity to reevaluate the costs, funding mechanisms, and materials targeted by their curbside recycling programs to make them more sustainable and effective. Most are using solid waste master planning that works with their overall program to remain economically sustainable.
Large urban areas are focusing on creating integrated programs to meet their solid waste and recycling goals while diverting food to food banks, other organic material into compost, all of which reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide sustainability.
Download the paper, Resetting Curbside Recycling Programs in the Wake of China
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